Best Ever Creamy Cavatappi Pasta Recipe (Mouth Watering!)
Cavatappi pasta is shaped like a corkscrew and goes well with creamy sauces. For a quick dinner, top it with a creamy white sauce, spinach, and sundried tomatoes.
Here’s a delicious pasta recipe with a healthy twist: creamy cavatappi pasta! It’s cheesy but not overly rich, and it contains a secret ingredient that infuses nutrients. It’s simple enough for a weeknight pasta dinner but elegant enough for entertaining.
WHAT IS CAVATAPPI PASTA?
Cavatappi is an Italian word that means “corkscrew.” Cavatappi pasta is similar to macaroni that has been shaped into corkscrews. This one-of-a-kind pasta pairs well with creamy or chunky sauces.
This creamy cavatappi recipe (scroll down) is our favorite, but it also makes a mean mac and cheese! I enjoy this pasta shape because it is unique and substantial: the unexpected shape allows us to take our time and enjoy each bite.
Alternative Video Recipe: Creamy Cavatappi Pasta with Chicken
THE SECRET TO MAKING IMPOSSIBLY CREAMY BAKED CAVATAPPI
A rich, garlic-scented cheese sauce, in my opinion, is the best sauce for cavatappi. It fits into every nook and cranny of the corkscrew.
This obscenely creamy sauce begins in the same manner as a béchamel sauce. To begin, make a roux with melted butter and flour, then add milk and cook until the sauce thickens.
The final step is what elevates this sauce to new heights: you’ll combine three types of cheese.
WHAT’S IN THIS CAVATAPPI PASTA RECIPE?
This is an excellent way to prepare cavatappi! The sauce is creamy and cheesy, but it also contains some healthy ingredients.
It goes well with a green salad and garlic bread. Here are our tips for making creamy cavatappi pasta:
- Pasta cavatappi: To get the full effect of this dish, cook it until it’s al dente. Get the best quality pasta you can find (we used Delallo cavatappi).
- Cauliflower cream sauce: Here’s a hint: cauliflower! Our cauliflower sauce is a low-carb alfredo sauce made with cauliflower, garlic, spices, and a pinch of Parmesan. It tastes fantastic and contains all of the nutrients found in cauliflower. Use our Vegan Alfredo Sauce if you’re a vegan!
- Spinach, baby: A few handfuls of spinach provide additional nutrients. You’ll cook the spinach in the pasta water at the end, so no need to dirty another pot!
- Tomatoes: sun-dried Sundried tomatoes, finely chopped, add a savory component that completes the dish!
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CELLENTANI AND CAVATAPPI?
Cavatappi, also known as cellentani, is a short, tubular, corkscrew-shaped pasta. Both types of pasta can be used interchangeably.
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HOW LONG DOES CAVATAPPI TAKE TO COOK?
Because timing varies slightly depending on brand, always check the package instructions for the recommended cook time.
This recipe calls for a two-step cooking process in which the cavatappi is first cooked on the stove in a pot of salted boiling water before being baked in the oven. As a result, we recommend cooking the cavatappi for two minutes less than the package directions. In the oven, the pasta will continue to cook for a few minutes longer. As a result, reducing the cook time on the stove ensures that the cavatappi are tender rather than mushy or soft.
HOW TO COOK PASTA TO AL DENTE?
For a truly authentic experience, cook your cavatappi pasta until it is al dente. What exactly does al dente mean? It means “to the bite” in Italian and refers to cooked pasta that is still firm on the inside.
A tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core is the ideal al dente texture. Here’s how to make al dente pasta:
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta.
- Check the pasta for doneness on a regular basis while it’s cooking.
- Drain the pasta as soon as it has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core! It only takes a few seconds to go from al dente to limp noodles.
WHY MAKE A CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SAUCE?
Why would you make a sauce out of cauliflower? This sauce is similar to a healthy alfredo sauce, but unlike the traditional version, it will leave you feeling light and vibrant!
The standard cheesy pasta is often too rich for me, and I get an upset stomach as a result. This cauliflower sauce is much lighter in flavor.
Even better, you get all of cauliflower’s nutritional benefits. As a result, this cavatappi pasta serves as a quick and healthy dinner option. For a completely plant-based option, use our Vegan Alfredo Sauce.
Here’s a breakdown of cauliflower nutrition (according to Harvard Medical School):
- 1 cup of chopped cauliflower contains only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates.
- It’s high in vitamin C, vitamin B, and potassium.
- Cauliflower contains a lot of fiber (1 cup has about 10 percent of your daily needs).
WAYS TO CUSTOMIZE THIS PASTA DISH:
This pasta is delicious as is, but feel free to change things up to suit your family’s tastes and what you have on hand.
- Pasta. Cavatappi is fantastic in this recipe, but feel free to substitute any short pasta of your choice. Rigatoni, penne, or fusilli are excellent substitutes.
- Create a gluten-free version. Simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Veganize it. Make use of dairy-free butter, vegetable broth, and vegan parmesan cheese.
- Include protein. Toss cooked, diced chicken breast, shredded rotisserie chicken, Italian sausage, or cooked shrimp into the pasta.
- Mix in the vegetables. In this recipe, I think chopped roasted bell pepper and chopped artichokes would be delicious. Sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, or eggplant could also be added.
I’m a purist, and I love this cavatappi pasta with just the noodles and cream sauce, topped with a little parsley.
However, there are numerous ways to spice up your cavatappi pasta dish. Here are some ideas:
- Tofu with a vegan parmesan crust
- Bacon crumbles
- Chicken can be grilled, baked, or rotisserie.
- Herbs, fresh
Leftover creamy cavatappi pasta can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. Rewarm gently in the microwave, splashed with a little water, broth, or milk to keep it from drying out.Print
Cavatappi Pasta Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
Cavatappi pasta is fashioned like a corkscrew and goes well with creamy sauces. For a quick dinner, top it with a creamy white sauce, spinach, and sundried tomatoes. (To make a vegan version, replace the cauliflower sauce with 4 cups Vegan Alfredo Sauce.)
- 6 garlic cloves*
- 1 small head cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), enough for 6 cups florets
- 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 pound Delallo cavatappi pasta
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons Delallo sundried tomatoes, minced
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
- Prepare the cauliflower sauce by mincing the garlic. Cut the cauliflower into pieces.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Sauté the cauliflower for 4 minutes, or until gently browned. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the garlic is aromatic. Combine the vegetable broth, garlic powder, oregano, and 12 teaspoon kosher salt in a mixing bowl. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 6–7 minutes on medium high heat, or until the cauliflower is soft when pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, boil a big pot of salted water for the pasta. Bring the pasta to a boil and cook until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). When the pasta is almost al dente, add the spinach to the pasta water in the last 45 seconds (it only needs this long to cook). Then return the spaghetti and spinach to the pot.
- When the cauliflower has been cooked (see Step 3), carefully transfer the hot cauliflower and broth mixture to a blender. On high, blend until a smooth sauce forms. Blend in 12 cup Parmesan cheese and an extra 12 teaspoon kosher salt.
- When the pasta is done, add the cauliflower sauce. Combine the chopped sundried tomatoes, 14 cup Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes in a mixing bowl (if using). Taste and season with salt or freshly ground pepper if required. Serve garnished with parsley. Refrigerate any leftovers (see reheating instructions above).
Use 4 cups Vegan Alfredo Sauce instead of the first 8 ingredients to make a plant-based spaghetti!
- Category: Dinner
- Method: None
- Cuisine: Western
- Serving Size: 8 servings
- Calories: 323kcal
- Sugar: 3.5g
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Unsaturated Fat:
- Trans Fat:
- Carbohydrates: 50g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 11g
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Cavatappi pasta used for?
Cavatappi is a small S-shaped pasta tube that resembles a small corkscrew. Because of its slender, spiral shape, it is ideal for serving with sauces, salads, and baking in casseroles. Cavatappi goes well with any sauce, but it works especially well with sauces containing vegetables and lean proteins.
What is cavatappi made of?
Cavatappi is a type of macaroni (thick, hollow pasta) made without the use of eggs. It can be yellow, like most pastas, or it can be green or red due to the addition of vegetables or food coloring. It can be used in salads, soups, and casseroles, among other things.
How do you eat cavatappi?
Cavatappi pasta is shaped like a corkscrew and goes well with creamy sauces. For a quick dinner, top it with a creamy white sauce, spinach, and sundried tomatoes. (To make a vegan version, replace the cauliflower sauce with 4 cups Vegan Alfredo Sauce.)
Is rotini the same as Cavatappi?
Cavatappi is a spiral-shaped, grooved pasta. This spiral noodle is larger than rotini and can “catch” larger chunks of a rich sauce. Cavatappi works well in thick, chunky sauces with a lot of meat or vegetables.
More alternative Cavatappi recipes to try:
Chicken Cavatappi Pasta Recipes
Your family will feel as if they are dining in a restaurant when they eat Chicken Cavatappi. Creamy, creamy spaghetti with grilled chicken and bruschetta on top. It’ll become a family favorite!
Baked Cavatappi Recipe
This ultra-comforting baked pasta dish is loaded with supple corkscrew pasta, a silky cream sauce combined with a trio of cheeses, and bite-size broccoli bits. It’s finished with a sprinkle of Parmesan and baked until the creamy sauce is bubbling and the top of the spaghetti has a faint crunch around the edges. Are you ready to get started?
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