I just can’t get enough of these stupid breadcrumbs.

Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs I howsweeteats.com

I know, I know, I’ve been putting them on everything. I’ll stop. Maybe. Eventually.

Sooooo. Sometimes I feel like you just… get me. That we are kindred spirits, if you will. That we row the same boat. Climbs the same trees. Wonder when flared jeans will come back in style and we can do away with this skinny leg crap. Dream of the same bacon topped cupcake. Have Ides of March on repeat because it’s double stocked with the best and most perfect eye candy in the world.

You know, I just think we do a lot of the same things that are very important in life and pertinent to our survival.

Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs I howsweeteats.com

Which makes me think that you probably bought a ton of green stuff – like fresh or frozen vegetables – a week or so ago because it’s January and well, you’re going to eat healthy green things this year! and they are currently dying in your fridge. In your crisper drawer they sit. Wilting away and hoping for a better life while you make your way through pizzas and quesadillas and even apples. But no green things. That stuff’s for the birds.

No? Me neither.

Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs I howsweeteats.com

Never mind. Lies. All lies. That is exactly why I’m doing this. I ended up with more green vegetables in my fridge this week than ever before, but let me just preface this with a disclaimer stating that the broccoli was only gracing my fridge due to some recipe development for another project. I would never bring such a blasphemous item into my world. It should simply be happy I didn’t pitch it straight in to the trash.

No, really though, I can’t do broccoli. There are a few instances and when I say “a few,” I mean any instance that includes deep frying and tons of melted cheese. And even that’s a stretch. But the thing is… since we are soul sisters (siblings?) and all… I know that some of you feel the same. So I’ve been trying this thing. It’s a thing where I force myself to eat vegetables even though I still can’t stand them. Sometimes I have to take measures such as breath-holding and diet Coke-chasing, but it’s been a little game I’ve been playing with myself for close to a year. And I still hate it. And it totally goes against my resolution to eat All The Delicious Things, but it also sort of goes WITH my resolution to eat All The Delicious Things because if I eat some green stuff, then I have even more leeway to eat additional delicious things. Whatever those are. And to clarify, I’m talking like, maybe three florets of broccoli or something. None of this entire bowl business.

I just… can’t.

Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs I howsweeteats.com

Anyhoo. This is one of the ways I’ve been forcing myself to eat the green stuff. It’s much more palatable than, well, anything else, considering it contains a gigantic amount of cheeses and again – those stupid breadcrumbs. Which are just so, so stupid.

Stupid delicious, that is.

Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs I howsweeteats.com


Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

Yield: serves 2-4


1/2 pound whole wheat linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup broccoli, chopped
10 asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into thirds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 bunch of kale leaves, torn from the steam
1/2 cup edamame
1 ripe avocado
1 (8-ounce) contained mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese + more for topping

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/3 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs


Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and preparing the pasta according to directions. While waiting for the water to boil, start on the rest of the dish. Keep in mind that you want to reseve about 2/3 of a cup of water from the pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil, then toss the chopped broccoli and asparagus in the skillet with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss well to coat, then cook until slightly golden and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon, remove the broccoli and asparagus, setting it aside in a bowl.

Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add in the leeks and red pepper, stirring well to coat and cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add spinach and kale with remaining salt and pepper, tossing well. Cook and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes or so.

While the kale and spinach are cooking, add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly while it bubbles. The minute brown bits begin to form on the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and whisk for an additional 30 seconds. (for more step by step photos of browning butter, click here) Let butter stand for 2 minutes, then add in minced garlic and whisk. Add in panko and stir well to coat and combine. Set aside.

Slice avocado in half. Remove the flesh from one side, mashing until almost smooth. Add the 2/3 of reserved pasta water to the skillet with the spinach/kale mixture, stirring well. Add the mascarpone cheese and mashed avocado, continuing to stir until totally melted and creamy. Add in the cooked pasta, tossing well to coat. Finish by adding in the cheese, broccoli, asparagus and edamame. Taste and season additionally if desired. To serve, slice remaining avocado and add it to the top of each dish, then cover in garlic brown butter bread crumbs.

[inspired by martha]

Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs I howsweeteats.com

Okay. Enough with that.

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78 Responses to “Creamy Pasta Verde with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs.”

  1. #
    Kim in MD — January 16, 2013 @ 8:07 am

    This looks so delicious, Jessica!


  2. #
    JulieD — January 16, 2013 @ 8:09 am

    Love this!!! The colors are beautiful!!


  3. #
    Sarah — January 16, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    This sounds and looks so tasty and refreshing!


  4. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — January 16, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    Yummy! This is a pasta dish I can dig my fork into! I love and I am so happy you post vegetable recipes!! It looks amazing!!


  5. #
    Simply Life — January 16, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    oh those breadcrumbs do look great- and I love your photos in this post!


  6. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — January 16, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    I’d be addicted to them too! Your edamame looked like lima beans, and I was going to go all “gross, lima beans???” on you. But I won’t. Instead, YUM!!!


  7. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — January 16, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    This looks beautiful!! And ps, I’m so proud of you for eating green things because when I started reading your blog I don’t think you would have dared go near them! I can’t seem to get enough of the green stuff this week, especially green juices. have you tried juicing your broccoli? It sounds odd, I know, but if you ever happen to have a head of it sitting in your fridge again and don’t want to waste, it’s a good use for it! (Not so sure how well cheese would do in a juicer but you can mask the flavour of the broccoli with other things like fruit!)


    • Jessica — January 16th, 2013 @ 10:25 am

      I’ve juiced everything BUT broccoli. Don’t know if I could do it.


  8. #
    Erin@LawStudentsWife — January 16, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    Avocado is the gateway to all green food. Looks too good to be good for me!


  9. #
    Melissa @ Kids in the Sink — January 16, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    I swear to you, I bookmark every. single. thing. you post. Well, like 90% because I’m a vegetarian, But seriously. You’re a genius.


  10. #
    Rebecca @ Pavlova's Dog — January 16, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    I swear, it’s like you’ve looked into my brain (past the pizza-sensors – highly alert, as always) and pulled this out of it. NEEEEEEED.


  11. #
    DessertForTwo — January 16, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    This is genius! I’ve been trying to cram as many veggies into a meal as possible, and you’re so right–I have all this stuff on hand. It’s crying out from my crisper as we speak…


  12. #
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — January 16, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    I just posted my favorite breadcrumb recipe on my blog a couple days ago – and I’ve always thought they were perfect – until now. Why have I not thought of adding brown butter!?!



  13. #
    Heather @ SugarDish(Me) — January 16, 2013 @ 9:11 am

    In love with this. Mascarpone can improve anything I think. Yes! Cheese & veggies.


  14. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — January 16, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    i’d be happy as a clam with just the brown butter croutons Jessica! But I’ll take the gorgeous creamy pasta any day too. Spinach and kale and edamame – all my favorite green little veggies. :)


  15. #
    Madison — January 16, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    Now I really want this and might have to give a try tonight! :) Thanks for sharing!


  16. #
    danielle — January 16, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    This sounds fantastic!


  17. #
    Ali @ Peaches and Football — January 16, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    I’ve always been more of a breadcrumb person than a crouton person. Maybe because you get flavor without a huge clump of crunchy bread that usually won’t stay on my fork. :) This pasta looks wonderful!


  18. #
    Tabitha (From Single to Married) — January 16, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    With my husband’s love of all things avocado, he would totally be into this meal if I made it for him. Looks delish!


  19. #
    Sharla — January 16, 2013 @ 10:23 am

    That is a lot of green stuff!! I bet you would like juicing – that way you get a ton of veggies, but don’t taste them because of the fruit.


  20. #
    Jenna — January 16, 2013 @ 10:29 am

    Mmmmm this looks wonderful. I love the addition of bread crumbs


  21. #
    Kory — January 16, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Wow! That looks so delicious! I’ve been trying to eat healthier this year, but so many healthy recipes seem bland. This one looks amazing though!


  22. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — January 16, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    OMG. I’ve been DYING for flared jeans to come back in style. This whole skinny BS is so dumb. Plus when I wear skinny jeans I look like two bobby pins balancing on skis.

    Sadness. This pasta should do the trick.


  23. #
    Elizabeth Kellett — January 16, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    This is going to happen in my kitchen umm pronto! I don’t know where to find marscapone cheese.. Or maybe because I’ve never actually searched… I do live in a tiny town in PA so I am not all that hopeful… Can I sub something? Would cream cheese do the trick?


  24. #
    Wendy — January 16, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    Pasta with brown butter bread crumbs has been my favorite food since I was a child. My Russian grandmother made it all the time. People thought I was crazy to put bread crumbs on pasta (starch on starch). Apparently my grandmother was a foodie before foodie was a word :) This dish looks amazing!


  25. #
    Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} — January 16, 2013 @ 10:54 am

    So beautiful! Love all the green stuff. I have some Brussels sprouts dying in my crisper… too bad those didn’t make an appearance :)


  26. #
    Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen — January 16, 2013 @ 11:20 am

    Have you tried oven roasted broccoli?


    Seriously tastes like broccoli candy. Everyone I’ve ever seen try it can’t get enough. It might change your life.


  27. #
    Alyssa — January 16, 2013 @ 11:24 am

    You had me at pasta and brown butter!! And obviously it’s healthy with all that green stuff in it, right??!


  28. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — January 16, 2013 @ 11:37 am

    Soooooooo…when should be there for dinner?


  29. #
    Sabrina — January 16, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    My nonna would be very proud of this dish. One of her go to lunches is pasta with mascarpone and whatever leftover vegetables they have in the house from the night before. They sell this type of cheese in Italy called “mascarponato” which is even creamier and softer than mascarpone and it melts right in beautifully. We sometimes find it here in the Italian market – you should take a look at your speciality shop some time for it. I bet you’d love it.


  30. #
    Steph — January 16, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    Avocado on top of pasta…I see this becoming a new obsession of mine


  31. #
    deva at deva by definition — January 16, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    Oh my does this sound and look amazing. I love avocado. I have one on my counter I need to smash up to eat on toast. YUM!


  32. #
    Tonya — January 16, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

    This looks so good! I will have to try this one. :)


  33. #
    Sabatino - hotcupoflove.com — January 16, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

    Wait a minute. What do you have against broccoli? Sure, it’s green and stocky, but it’s like eating miniture trees for goodness sakes! Sometimes I like to imagine I’m a giant, thrashing around a small forest. I backhand them off the table, step on them, and bite their heads off. This is why I can’t go out to restaurants.


  34. #
    Chrissy — January 16, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    You had me so much at flared jeans, I really didn’t get much past that.


  35. #
    Ashley — January 16, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    A veggie pasta dream come true. OH my do I love green veggies, especially twirled around with noodles.


  36. #
    Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking — January 16, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    I am pleasantly shocked to see such a green recipe on your blog! You are growing up!


  37. #
    Mary @ The Kitchen Paper — January 16, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    This looks damn good!!


  38. #
    Julie — January 16, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

    Green things in the fridge: check. Avocado on everything in life: check.


  39. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 16, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

    What a great green and vibrant meal…edamame, asparagus, broccoli, avocado – I love all of these!


  40. #
    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — January 16, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

    Great colors and I’m hooked on everything browned butter!


  41. #
    Yum Yucky — January 16, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

    say what? Flared jeans are outta style? SH*T!! I better clean out my closet and go shopping. O_O


  42. #
    dervla @ The Curator — January 16, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

    i do feel like your soul sister! I feel the same way you do about broccoli about kale … i just. can’t. get. into it. Must try.


  43. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — January 16, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

    I really love this. The green stuff and all!


  44. #
    Little Kitchie — January 16, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

    GOR.GEOUS. seriously can’t wait to make this.


  45. #
    Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut — January 16, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    Yum! I’m impressed with all the GREEN I’m seeing. For a second I thought someone hacked into your site. ;)


  46. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — January 16, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

    I love that this is loaded with green veggies! Even the broccoli!


  47. #
    Sues — January 16, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

    This is the most delicious kind of green!


  48. #
    Claudia — January 16, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

    You just made my daily 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a lot easier. (Some days it’s 5 servings of fruit!)


  49. #
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — January 16, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

    You come up with the most interesting combo’s of goodness!


  50. #
    Marie @ Not Enough Cinnamon.com — January 16, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

    Jessica, you mention breadcrumbs, but the truth is, what would you do without brown butter? haha



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