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Creamy Cavatappi

  • Author: Jeanine
  • Total Time: 22 mins
  • Yield: 3 1x


Creamy Cavatappi Pasta is a weeknight win. With a quick and easy cream and Parmesan sauce that feels indulgent, this simple recipe is easy to customize to suit your tastes.


  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1.3 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen peas, optional
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water


  1. Cook the pasta:

    Put a large pot of water on to boil over high heat. Season generously with salt.

    Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir. Cook until just short of al dente, according to the package directions.


    Make the sauce while the pasta cooks. Don’t forget to save some pasta water before draining the cavatappi!

  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce:

    While the pasta cooks, add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the garlic and cook just until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds.

    Slowly add the cream while stirring and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reducing the heat if needed to maintain a simmer. Cook, while stirring, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

    Add the Parmesan a small handful at a time, sprinkling it over top and stirring each time until melted. Add the lemon juice and stir. Turn the heat as low as it’ll go until the pasta is ready, stirring occasionally.

    Pot of Creamy Cavatappi Sauce With a Wooden Spoon
    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek
    Creamy Cavatappi Sauce Reduced Thickened. Wooden Spoon Stirring the Sauce and Leaving a Clear Streak to Showcase Desired Consistency
    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek
  3. Drain the pasta and thaw the peas:

    Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the frozen peas to a colander.

    Drain the pasta over the frozen peas (the hot pasta will help defrost the peas).

    Frozen Peas in a Colander Over a Bowl for Creamy Cavatappi Recipe
    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek
    Cooke Cavatappi in the Same Colander With the Peas
    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek
  4. Toss the pasta and serve:

    If your skillet is big enough, add the pasta and peas to the sauce. Otherwise, add the pasta and peas back to the pasta pot and pour the sauce over the top.

    Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and turn the heat to medium. Toss constantly until you have a creamy sauce that coats the noodles, 3 to 5 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, add more pasta water a small splash at a time, tossing in between.


    You’ll want the sauce slightly looser than you think since it will thicken quickly as it cools.

    Taste, adding salt and/or pepper if needed. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

    Creamy cavatappi is best eaten hot and freshly made, but you can refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a little water or cream to loosen the sauce.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a review below!


Double this recipe to make a whole pound of pasta, which will feed 4 to 6 people.

The amount of salt is a guideline—adjust it based on your taste and how salty your pasta water is.

  • Prep Time: 7 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Main Course, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 2 to 3 servings
  • Calories: 235 kcal
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 437mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 29mg

Keywords: Cavatappi, Cavatappi Pasta, cavatappi recipes, cavatappi pasta recipes, what is cavatappi,

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