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This colorful Christmas pasta is perfect for the holidays! It's tender pasta tossed in a homemade romesco sauce and served with broccoli, mini bocconcini, basil, and almonds. It's an easy recipe that takes only 30 minutes to make!
Celebrate the holidays all season long with festive foods like our pretty beet gnocchi with pistachio arugula pesto and orange cranberry roast chicken with rosemary balsamic butter.
This Christmas pasta recipe is fun, festive, and full of flavor. It's a quick and easy meal that's perfect for the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. And with its red, green, and white colors, will surely put you in a holiday mood.
If you've never made romesco sauce, you're in for a nutty treat. It's a smoky, peppery sauce that can be served right away or stored in the fridge until you're ready to use it. It's easy to make, too!
All the sauce ingredients get whizzed into a silky sauce in the blender. Then, simply cook the pasta, sauté some broccoli, and toss it all together.
It's a recipe to keep handy for times when the season gets busy, but you still want to serve something festive. It's the perfect pasta dish for laid-back dinner parties, date nights, or even Christmas Eve.
Christmas pasta ingredients
Here's what you'll need to make the Christmas pasta:
- Pasta – we used garganelli pasta, but any short, tube-shaped pasta like penne or rigatoni will work. Use gluten-free pasta, if needed.
- Olive oil + garlic
- Broccoli – cut into florets, like bushy little trees!
- Mini bocconcini – we like the mini bocconcini because we think they look like little snowballs, but you can use sliced regular bocconcini, too.
- Basil and chopped almonds – for garnish.
This is what you'll need for the festive red romesco sauce:
- Almonds – look for whole unsalted, dry-roasted almonds.
- Roasted red peppers – use store-bought roasted red peppers in a jar, or scroll down to learn how to make your own!
- Fire-roasted tomatoes – fire-roasted tomatoes are sweet and subtly smoky.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – we use sun-dried tomatoes in oil, but you can also rehydrate dry-packed ones by covering them in hot water for 10 minutes.
- Parsley – curly or flat-leaved both work.
- Red wine vinegar – the acidity balances out the flavors.
- Olive oil – makes it nice and creamy
- Smoked paprika + salt
How to make Christmas pasta
This Christmas pasta recipe is what we make when we need a break from all the squash, roasts, and casseroles. Here's how to make it in a couple of easy steps:
- Start with the easy-to-make romesco sauce. Simply put all the ingredients except for the olive oil into your blender, blend until smooth, then drizzle in the olive oil with the blender running.
- Boil water in a large pot, add the pasta, and cook it until al dente (reserving a cup of the pasta water before straining).
- While the pasta cooks, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the broccoli until tender. Add the garlic at the end for one minute.
- Toss the cooked pasta with the romesco sauce, using some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Mix in the broccoli and bocconcini, then top with basil and a few chopped almonds. Voilà!
How to make your own roasted red peppers
Roasting red peppers at home is quick and easy to do. Plus it's one of those skills that will make you look like a kitchen rockstar! Here's how to do it in just three simple steps:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub your whole peppers with olive oil, pop them in the hot oven, and roast for 20-25 minutes. They're done when their skins are black and blistery.
- When they're cool enough to handle, peel the skins off and discard them along with the stem and the seeds. Store them in the fridge until you're ready to use them, or up to 5 days.
Can I prepare the romesco sauce in advance?
Definitely! The romesco sauce will stay fresh in your fridge for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container.
Can I use regular tomatoes instead of fire-roasted?
You can, but it will change the flavor a bit. If you use regular tomatoes, we recommend adding a tablespoon of honey to sweeten it up.
What to serve with this Christmas pasta recipe
This vegetarian Christmas pasta recipe is a complete meal on its own, but we like to serve it with a side salad and sometimes even garlic bread.
Salads that pair well with Christmas pasta
- 10 ounces pasta (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 head broccoli (cut into florets)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 200 ml container mini bocconcini
- Basil and chopped almonds (to serve)
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 7 ounces roasted red peppers
- 7 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes (drained)
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Start by making the romesco sauce. Put all the ingredients EXCEPT for the olive oil into your blender and blend until smooth. Then drizzle in the olive oil with the blender running.1 cup whole almonds, 7 ounces roasted red peppers, 7 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes, ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water then drain and return the pasta to the pot.10 ounces pasta
- While the pasta is cooking, make the broccoli. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 head broccoli, 2 cloves garlic
- Pour the romesco sauce over the cooked pasta and toss well. Use the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce – you'll likely use most of it. Mix the broccoli and bocconcini (see notes) into the pasta and serve topped with basil and a few chopped almonds.200 ml container mini bocconcini, Basil and chopped almonds
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.