Easy Cavatappi Alfredo and Peas

This cavatappi alfredo recipe makes an easy, creamy, warm lunch in just 15 minutes. Everyone needs a warm lunch once in a while.


I started adding peas to boxed macaroni and cheese when kiddo was younger, and she loved it. It also fools me into thinking I’m doing something healthy, even if I’m not.

You may be surprised that fettucine alfredo is indeed Italian in origin even if we Americans have driven up its popularity with our love for butter and cheese. Note: I’m told the cream has been a more recent addition to the classic, popularized by none other than Marcella Hazan herself in The Classic Italian Cookbook.

a bowl of cavatappi alfredo with peas

Key Ingredient: Cavatappi

Cavatappi means “corkscrew” in Italian. It’s a hollow, twisted pasta that works with salads and thick or chunky pasta sauces.

As a curly-headed folk person, I love cavatappi.

close up of dry cavatappi.

Tips and tricks

This recipe for cavatappi alfredo and peas is not difficult. It has only five ingredients in addition to the cavatappi. And it takes about five minutes to put together. Maybe more, if you like a LOT of Parmesan cheese.

ingredients for the cavatappi alfredo and peas recipe.


Can I substitute milk for cream?

Yes, you could use milk or yogurt, but it won’t be as thick and creamy. You could use milk to make a bechamel-based cheese sauce, but then we’re getting away from this one pot pasta.

What would you drink with this?

It’s lunchtime, are we drinking already? Just kidding. Definitely white. I might try a viognier, which is often said to be the white wine for red wine lovers.

Would this reheat well?

Alfredo is definitely best eaten immediately, but, if you have to, reheat it very gently on the stovetop.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Sub any short pasta like macaroni or fusilli for the cavatappi. Conchiglie (“seashells”) would be perfect to trap the peas. Or try this with cascatelli, the fun new pasta shape developed by Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast.
  • Sub steamed broccoli or cauliflower for the peas.
  • Chop some cooked bacon or leftover chicken or shrimp and add it to the pasta when you stir in the Parmesan.
  • Leave out the peas and add canned pumpkin to the alfredo sauce for a Fall treat.
cavatappi alfredo made with pumpkin puree.

Related recipes

Check out some other uglyduckling pasta recipes like this fig bacon jam that my kiddo created, this sausage ragù, or this one pan eggplant lasagna.

Cavatappi Alfredo and Peas

5 from 1 vote
Category: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 698kcal
This cavatappi alfredo recipe makes an easy, creamy, warm pasta dish in just 15 minutes. Add peas or pumpkin or crisp bacon for variation!
Print Recipe


  • salt, for cooking pasta
  • 4 ounce cavatappi or other short pasta
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • ½ ounce grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping


  • Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until 2 minutes from al dente, then add in the peas. When the pasta is cooked, drain both into a strainer.
    salt, for cooking pasta, 4 ounce cavatappi or other short pasta, ½ cup frozen peas
  • Using the same pot, combine the butter, cream, and nutmeg over medium-low heat until slightly thickened.
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon heavy cream, 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Add the pasta and peas back to the pot and continue to stir over medium-low heat until the pasta is well-coated.
  • Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese, as desired.
    ½ ounce grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping


  • add half a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • add a few strips of chopped crisped bacon


Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 466mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1249IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 214mg | Iron: 3mg
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a bowl of cavatappi alfredo and a child's workbook.

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