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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.

The backstory

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

Tips and tricks for this cavatappi alfredo recipe

This recipe for cavatappi alfredo and peas is not difficult. It has only five ingredients in addition to the pasta. 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.

As curly-headed folks, we love cavatappi, which means “corkscrew” in Italian.

close up of dry cavatappi.

FAQs about this cavatappi alfredo

Can I substitute other pastas for the cavatappi?

Sure, conchiglie (“seashells”) would be perfect to trap the peas, but you could sub any short pasta like the fusilli in the bacon variation below. Or try this with cascatelli, the fun new pasta shape developed by Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast.

Could I substitute something for the peas?

Steamed broccoli or cauliflower would both work well, although unless you are using leftovers you might have to dirty another pot. Speaking of leftovers, you could also add in some leftover chicken or shrimp for more protein.

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.

Variations on this recipe

Add canned pumpkin to the alfredo sauce for a Fall treat.

cavatappi alfredo made with pumpkin puree.

Chop some cooked bacon and add it to the pasta when you stir in the Parmesan.

bowl of fusilli alfredo, peas, and bacon.

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
Author: uglyducklingbakery
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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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

Notes

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

Nutrition

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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What’s next?

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a bowl of cavatappi alfredo and a child's workbook.

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