Looking for a super delicious, easy, crowd-pleasing dinner main or side dish recipe? Cavatappi Pasta with Cream Sauce is on the menu! This comforting pasta dish combines tender cavatappi noodles and an easy, ultra creamy parmesan cheese cream sauce. Even your picky eaters will enjoy this family-friendly dish made with minimal ingredients. As an added win, it only takes 15 minutes to whip up! It will definitely become one of your go-to dinner recipes!

cooking cavatappi pasta in a large skillet

Cavatappi Pasta with Cream Sauce offers mega crowd appeal. You know that friend who is adored everywhere she goes, manages to score free drinks from the bartender, and is magically upgraded to first class on overbooked flights? Creamy cavatappi pasta is that friend. You can’t help but love it.

Ultra creamy with so much flavor, this cavatappi pasta recipe is special enough for a romantic dinner, but is so easy, it can be thrown together for the kids with no problem! This one’s a winner, guys! Don’t delay… make it tonight!

What is Cavatappi Pasta?

Cavatappi is pasta perfection! The name, Cavatappi, means corkscrew in Italian and the noodles are corkscrew-shaped and ridged, so they cling to all that creamy sauce! The fun, spiral shape works well with thick sauces (like this cream sauce) or chunky sauces like my taco pasta or a meat sauce! The twisting shape will catch all of the sauce in the curves for delicious flavor in every bite. Try using cavatappi pasta to make my vegan mac & cheese – total game changer!

uncooked corkscrew pasta noodles

Ingredients for this cavatappi pasta recipe:

You’re going to fall in LOVE with this pasta recipe! It requires only 8 simple, easy-to-find ingredients (plus salt + pepper) and comes together with very little effort. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:

  • Cavatappi pasta. In case cavatappi can’t be found, choose a pasta with a shape that will hold the cheesy cream sauce. Rigatoni, penne, fusilli are good choices.
  • Butter. For cooking the garlic and adding flavor to the sauce. Use dairy free, as desired.
  • Garlic. A must in any pasta dish. I highly recommend fresh garlic and not the kind from a jar.
  • Flour. You need just a small amount for thickening the cream sauce.
  • Broth. I use veggie broth but whatever you have will work.
  • Milk. Any preferred milk works for this recipe. You can even use plant-based milk – just be sure that the milk is plain and without any additional flavoring.
  • Italian seasoning. Just this one simple seasoning is all you need because we want the deliciousness of the parmesan cheese to be front and center.
  • Grated parmesan cheese. I love to use freshly grated parmesan cheese! You can find the highest quality blocks of parmesan cheese in the speciality cheese area in most grocery stores. If you’d like this recipe to be vegan-friendly, Violife makes a great parmesan cheese that melts nicely, or try my recipe for vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Salt + pepper. To bring all of the flavor together.
cavatappi pasta cooked in a parmesan cheese cream sauce

How to make this pasta:

Making this creamy pasta dish couldn’t be easier! Here’s a quick rundown of the process, but for full instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Boil pasta. Start a pot of salted boiling water and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. Make the sauce. Melt butter in a skillet, add in garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the broth, milk, Italian seasoning, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until fully combined and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and the cheese has melted.
  3. Combine pasta with cream sauce. Stir the cooked, drained pasta into the sauce to fully coat.
  4. Enjoy! Plate pasta with steamed broccoli florets and add a garnish of fresh parsley for color.
Cavatappi Pasta topped with croutons

Ways to customize this pasta dish:

This pasta is delicious as-is, but feel free to change things up to customize it to your family’s preferences and what you have available.

  • Pasta. Cavatappi in incredible in this recipe, but feel free to change it up and use any short pasta you’d like. Rigatoni, penne or fusilli are great substitutions. 
  • Make it gluten free. Simply use a gluten-free pasta of choice.
  • Make it vegan. Use dairy-free butter, veggie broth, and a vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Add protein. Feel free to toss the pasta with cooked, diced chicken breast, shredded rotisserie chicken, Italian sausage or cooked shrimp.
  • Add veggies. I think chopped roasted bell pepper and chopped artichokes would be super tasty in this recipe. You could also add sautéed veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli or eggplant.

Serving suggestions:

I am a purist, and I love this cavatappi pasta simply with the noodles and cream sauce, with a little parsley for garnish. But there are countless ways to dress up your cavatappi pasta dish. Some suggestions are:

Storing leftovers:

Leftover creamy cavatappi pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave, splashed with a bit of water, broth or milk to keep it from drying out as you rewarm it.

creamy cavatappi pasta in a large skillet

I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does!

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

More easy pasta recipes to try:

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
cavatappi pasta cooked in a parmesan cheese cream sauce

Cavatappi Pasta with Cream Sauce


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Cavatappi Pasta with Cream Sauce is a comforting pasta dish that combines tender cavatappi noodles and an easy, ultra creamy parmesan cheese cream sauce. It only takes 15 minutes to whip up!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound cavatappi
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (dairy free as desired)
  • 4 cloves of finely minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of broth (I use veggie broth but whatever you have will work)
  • 1 cup milk of choice (plain milk or dairy free works)
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (violife makes a great parmesan cheese that melts nicely but I also have a vegan parmesan recipe HERE*)
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Optional for serving: 2 heaping cups of steamed broccoli florets

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add in garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the broth, milk, italian seasoning, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined and bring to a simmer. 
  4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the cheese is fully melted and combined into the sauce.
  5. Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce and stir to coat fully. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Notes

*the homemade vegan parmesan will create a slightly less creamy sauce but it still tastes delicious!

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cavatappi pasta, cream sauce