10 Creamy Pasta Recipes That Are Perfect for Winter

Creamy pasta dishes are the perfect meals to start a date or dinner party on the right foot, and we’re highlighting recipes that will show you how to make them in your own kitchen. These creamy pasta dishes are indulgent in the best way possible. Follow one of these recipes, and you’ll soon learn the secrets of easy but gourmet cooking.

1. Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon

Creamy pasta | iStock.com

Creamy pasta with bacon | iStock.com

We’re starting things on a delicious note with this fettuccine Alfredo with bacon from Cooking Light. The classic Italian pasta dish is delicious as is, and bacon takes it over the top. Even better, the ingredient list is short. If you can boil water, crisp bacon in a skillet, and effectively toss pasta, you’ll be able to serve this dish to 4 people and impress them with your cooking skills.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh fettuccine
  • 2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving ¼ cup cooking liquid.

While the pasta cooks, cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Sprinkle flour over garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thick, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in salt and reserved ¼ cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta to pan; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley, and pepper.

2. Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara | iStock.com

Next is another Italian dish from Food & Wine. This time, it’s a creamy carbonara that gets a decadent dose of pancetta. After you boil your spaghetti and cook your pancetta and garlic, you’ll make the cream sauce by combining egg yolks and heavy cream. Next, you’ll coat your cooked spaghetti with the cream sauce, then add Parmesan cheese and nutmeg to finish it off. Say hello to one tasty meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into ⅛-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until just al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until crisp, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute.

Add the spaghetti to the skillet. Cook over low heat, tossing, until coated. Slowly add the reserved pasta cooking water and beaten egg yolks. Toss until coated with a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Add the 1 cup of Parmesan and nutmeg; season with pepper. Transfer to bowls and serve, passing extra Parmesan.

3. Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Fusilli pasta with mushrooms

Fusilli pasta with mushrooms | iStock.com

Mushrooms star perfectly in the creamy sauce that dresses this pasta dish featured on Food 52. It’s hard to resist any dish that has pasta, butter, white wine, garlic, and heavy cream involved, and mushrooms take the dinner from good to great. The recipe serves 2 and is perfect for date night. Tuck into this comfort food dinner for a meal you’re sure to love.

Ingredients:

  • ounces pasta 
  • ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • tablespoons butter
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • cup white wine
  • cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions: Prepare pasta according to package directions, then drain well. Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes, until mushrooms have released liquid and browned nicely.

Add the wine, cream, vegetable broth, and balsamic vinegar, then bring it all to a boil. Let boil for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour over pasta along with mushrooms. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

4. Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta

close-up of an unpeeled garlic clove

This one’s for the garlic lover in your life | iStock.com

Garlic lovers will swoon over this creamy pasta dish featured on Food.com. It’s a simple yet decadent dinner thanks to the butter, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. No one will miss the tomato flavor when you’re working with this rich creamy sauce, and it’s a perk to the chef that the dish only takes 15 minutes from start to finish. This recipe serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1-pound) box penne or penne rigate, cooked as directed, drained and kept hot
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup chicken or beef broth
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Melt butter and add garlic in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium for 1 minute. Add flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and cheese, then stir to combine.

Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

5. Vodka Cream Pasta

Creamy vodka sauce pasta

Creamy vodka sauce pasta | iStock.com

Both you and your guests are going to love this Rachael Ray recipe, featured on Food Network. The key to this pasta is the vodka sauce made from tomatoes, heavy cream, vodka, and Italian herbs. If you want to add an extra hit of protein, add some sautéed shrimp to the mix. Enjoying this vodka pasta from the comfort of your own home means you can head right to the couch afterward.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces penne rigate or other short-cut pasta
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing

Directions: Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently sauté shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, three shots around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

6. Creamy Chicken and Pasta

Creamy chicken and pasta

Creamy chicken and pasta | iStock.com

For some protein with your pasta, try this creamy dinner from Taste of Home. The decadent dish is studded with salty capers that complement the earthy mushrooms and creamy sauce and the chicken makes it extra satisfying. Serve your creamy chicken and pasta dinner with extra Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups penne pasta
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onions in butter for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Add wine or broth and garlic. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Combine flour and water until smooth; gradually add to mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through.

Drain pasta. Add the pasta, chicken, capers, salt and pepper to cream sauce. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

7. Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage

Source: iStock

You’ll love this squash pasta | iStock.com

One way to eat your squash is by blending it into a creamy purée for a new twist on carbonara with this recipe from Bon Appétit. For the sauce, you’ll sauté the squash along with onions, garlic, and broth before blending it into a smooth purée. After you’ve successfully made the squash sauce, you’ll combine it with cooked pasta, then garnish with the pancetta and sage. Indulging in your winter vegetables never tasted so good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 (2-pound) kabocha or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 ounce fettuccine or linguine
  • ¼ cup finely grated Pecorino, plus shaved for serving

Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Add sage and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta and sage to a small bowl; set aside.

Add squash, onion, and garlic to skillet; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then purée in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Reserve skillet.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Combine pasta, squash purée, and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Mix in ¼ cup Pecorino; season with salt and pepper. Serve pasta topped with reserved pancetta and sage, shaved Pecorino, and more pepper.

8. Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

Source: iStock

Everyone will love eating their veggies when they’re tossed with pasta and Parmesan cream | iStock.com

Next up is this easy pasta with chicken sausage and broccoli from Chowhound. This pasta features plenty of veggies and protein, plus a decadent Parmesan cream sauce. The recipe serves 6 to 8, but even your picky eaters will ask for seconds. It might just become a regular in your rotation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound broccoli, stemmed and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 pound fusilli or other short pasta
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup tightly packed, finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Directions: Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until it’s no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and are just starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat.

When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the bowl with the sausage.

Return the water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions or until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, drain, and return the pasta to the pot; set aside.

Return the pan of onions to medium heat, add the cream, and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sausage and broccoli and stir until combined.

Pour the broccoli-sausage mixture over the pasta, add the measured Parmesan and reserved pasta water, and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, passing more Parmesan on the side.

9. Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Sun-dried tomato pasta

Sun-dried tomato pasta | iStock.com

Epicurious’s dreamy pasta with sun-dried tomato cream sauce is what winter dreams are made of. You’ll want to slurp up the sauce with a spoon, but it’s even better once tossed with the cooked noodles. The food formula serves 4 and yields the perfect dish to serve on a cold winter night. Suddenly, winter doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 (7.25-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cream, red peppers and crushed red pepper; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Stir in ½ cup basil and simmer 1 minute longer.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce, cheese and ½ cup basil and toss to coat. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to pasta to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper.

10. Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Brie

Bowl filled with rigatoni pasta

Bowl filled with rigatoni pasta | iStock.com

Last up is a dinner dish that only requires 4 ingredients: pasta, broccoli, pine nuts, and brie. Real Simple‘s delicious dish yields an easy yet elegant dinner you won’t soon forget. Serve this creamy rigatoni to some close friends for a tasty dinner that comes together in just 25 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • pound dried rigatoni
  • head broccoli, florets and stalks cut into ½-inch pieces and steamed
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ounces brie, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • kosher salt and pepper

Directions: Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.

Add the steamed broccoli, pine nuts, brie, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir until the cheese melts. Divide among individual bowls and serve.