19 Creamy Pasta Recipes for Comforting Dinners

Creamed Corn Pasta
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

There's nothing like a creamy pasta dish for cold winter nights, or really any time of year; pasta, in its endless variability, transcends the seasons. These creamy pasta recipes, from Pasta Carbonara to a cheesy Cacio e Pepe, are great for all skill levels. Bookmark these recipes for when you're craving a luxurious, comforting pasta meal.

01 of 19

Creamy Baked Pasta with Gruyère and Prosciutto

Creamy Baked Pasta with Gruyere and Prosciutto Recipe
John Kernick

For a simple and ultra-creamy baked pasta, take a cue from chef Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner: Trade the usual béchamel for this much easier sauce of heavy cream simmered with plenty of nutmeg and two kinds of cheese.

02 of 19

Creamy Lemon Pasta

creamy lemon pasta
Victor Protasio

Chef Andrew Zimmern mimics the sweet, fragrant lemons of Italy's Amalfi Coast with Meyer lemons in this beautifully bright and creamy pasta. The dish originated at L'Antica Trattoria in Sorrento, where lemon juice is tossed with just-cooked pasta until absorbed. Supremes of lemon add a juicy, tart pop that balances the cream in the sauce.

03 of 19

Creamy Vegan Pasta Primavera

This Creamy Pasta Primavera Is Somehow Vegan

A few smart swaps transform your favorite creamy spring pasta into a vegan-friendly sensation. Umami-rich nutritional yeast shoulders the duties of Parmesan, while buttery macadamia nut milk stands in for heavy cream. Check the macadamia nut milk label closely when shopping to ensure it is unsweetened.

04 of 19

Creamed Corn Pasta

Creamed Corn Pasta
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Fresh corn melts into a creamy sauce that clings to every cranny of this pasta from Victor King of The Essential in Birmingham, Alabama. Any short noodle, like gemelli or casarecce, will work here. Using a vegetable peeler to shave the corn kernels is key: the peeler cuts juicy pieces of fresh corn while leaving rich and creamy corn milk behind to add body and flavor to the sauce.

05 of 19

Creamy Tomato Rigatoni

Creamy Tomato Rigatoni
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

A judicious amount of heavy cream enriches this simple tomato sauce, producing a lush texture that clings to the pasta without blanketing richness.

06 of 19

Creamy Vegan Pasta with Greens, Peas, and Lemon Zest

Green Pasta in purple bowls
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey

Quickly blanched greens and sizzling scallions and garlic meet in a surprisingly creamy vegan sauce for pasta, with a touch of white miso for added depth. Feel free to top with your favorite grated plant-based cheese, or just enjoy it all on its own.

07 of 19

One-Pot White Wine Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks

One Pot White Wine Pasta Recipe
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

This creamy, savory pasta dish comes together in just one pot—no need to boil the pasta separately. A combination of savory sautéed mushrooms and gently sweet leeks combine with cream, lemon juice, and white wine to create the rich sauce. Feel free to switch up the flavor by adding tarragon instead of dill.

08 of 19

Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard

Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard.
© Greg DuPree

In matching spicy sausage with a creamy mustard sauce and fragrant basil, British cookbook author Nigel Slater created a quick pasta supper with warm, mildly spicy flavors, perfect for a cool fall or winter evening.

09 of 19

Rigatoni with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

Rigatoni with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce
© Evi Abeler

Tubes of rigatoni hold the tomato sauce, giving you a burst of creamy flavor with every bite. Use either hot or mild Italian sausage here, depending on your preference.

10 of 19

Cacio e Plantain

Cacio e Plantain
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Mildly sweet and super creamy, caramelized plantains and nutty Parmesan form a silky sauce that drapes over spaghetti in this recipe by game-changing chef Eric Rivera. Choose very ripe plantains, with a mostly or completely black peel.

11 of 19

Garganelli with Speck, Peas, and Scallion Cream

Garganelli with Speck Peas and Scallion Cream
Victor Protasio

For restaurant-quality pasta at home, learning to use pasta cooking liquid to finish the sauce is essential — the dissolved starch in the water thickens the sauce while suspending the fat in a cream emulsion that clings to the noodles.

12 of 19

Three-Pepper Cacio e Pepe

Three Pepper Cacio e Pepe
Victor Protasio

A trio of peppercorns gives this pasta a subtle, floral heat. If you like, spice it up, swapping the Szechuan pepper with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

13 of 19

Southern-Style Mac 'n' Cheese

Southern Style Mac n Cheese
Photo by Noah Fecks / Food Styling by Drew Aichele / Prop Styling by Ethan Lunkenheimer

Three different kinds of cheese — extra-sharp cheddar, Colby-Jack, and cream cheese — go into writer Nikki Miller-Ka's creamy, savory macaroni and cheese recipe, which also gets layers of flavor from fresh bay leaves and dry mustard.

14 of 19

Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas and Ham

Spring Pea and Ham Carbonara Recipe
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

This modern take on a classic Italian pasta dish relies on ham instead of traditional pancetta for a dose of smoky flavor and richness.

15 of 19

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio Recipe
Greg DuPree

A splash of red wine vinegar balances the richness of this cheesy pasta and magnifies the pink color of the onions and radicchio. Omit the prosciutto to make this a vegetarian main dish.

16 of 19

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts
© Alexandra Rowley

This rich, earthy dish featuring canned pumpkin puree was inspired by stovetop mac and cheese. The hazelnut and chive garnishes lend an elegant touch to this hearty pasta.

17 of 19

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara
© Madeleine Hill

This easy classic pasta dish comes together in less than 30 minutes and is a comforting meal any time. The chewy rigatoni stands up perfectly to this supremely rich and flavorful sauce.

18 of 19

Creamy One-Pot Spaghetti with Leeks

Creamy One-Pot Spaghetti with Leeks
© Christina Holmes

Instead of boiling pasta in water, Not Without Salt blogger Ashley Rodriguez cooks it in a super-flavorful combination of stock, cream, leeks, scallion, garlic, and chives.

19 of 19

Pizzoccheri Gratin

Pizzoccheri Gratin
© John Kernick

In Northern Italy, pizzoccheri are short, flat buckwheat noodles cooked with cabbage and potatoes and layered with cheese. For his version, Jonathon Sawyer cuts fresh lasagna sheets into noodles and bakes them in a gratin dish with a crispy bread crumb topping.

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