This garlic parmesan pasta kind of reminds me of Parmesan Pasta Roni, but way better and without all of the scary added ingredients. It tastes a lot like fettuccine Alfredo, but the angel hair is so delicate that the creamy sauce really shines. It's meatless, so you can serve it as an easy pasta side or add some chicken or shrimp to make it a heartier meal. Best of all, it comes together in less than half an hour and is under 10 ingredients.
Why should I make this angel hair pasta recipe?
- It's a super fast pasta side or vegetarian main. This is the kind of meal I throw together on a Monday night when I'm exhausted and want a good comfort meal without a lot of effort. There isn't a ton of chopping or prep involved and it's easy peasy.
- You probably already have most of the ingredients lying around your house. We almost always have dry pasta, butter, half and half, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese--the main ingredients in this dish--in our pantry or refrigerator. All of the necessary ingredients are easily accessible and inexpensive.
- It's delicious! I rarely eat leftovers, but I'm always jazzed to eat this pasta on the second day. It's the best angel hair pasta recipe I've tried, and so so creamy and comforting. It's Parmesan Pasta Roni, the better adult edition.
Here's what you need.
- Angel hair pasta. Angel hair is also known as capellini. It's like a skinny spaghetti. If you don't have angel hair on hand, this recipe would also be great with spaghetti or fettuccine. I just love the way the delicate angel hair pairs with the super indulgent creamy parmesan sauce.
- Cream cheese. I'd recommend full fat. This isn't one of our healthy recipes--just enjoy it.
- Parmesan or romano cheese. I'd recommend buying a block of good-quality parmesan or romano cheese and shredding it yourself. The pre-shredded stuff just doesn't taste as good. Nothing compares to freshly shredded, nutty cheese.
- Other ingredients: fresh garlic, butter, half and half, salt, and black pepper
Here's how you make it.
This garlic parmesan pasta is SO easy, comes together in less than half an hour, and requires less than 10 ingredients.
- Make the pasta.
Cook the angel hair pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Before draining, reserve a cup of pasta water and set aside.
- Cook the garlic.
Add butter to a large pan over medium heat. Once it's melted, add minced garlic and allow to cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir constantly so it doesn't burn.
- Add the cream cheese and half and half.
Add the cream cheese and half and half to the pan with the garlic (promptly adding this will stop the garlic from burning). Break the cream cheese apart with a spoon or spatula, and stir continuously until it's melted and combined with the half and half. This may take several minutes.
- Add pasta water and let the sauce simmer.
Once the cream cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened, add the cup of reserved pasta water. Stir until everything is combined, then let the mixture re-thicken for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the parmesan cheese and season the sauce.
Add the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to the sauce, and stir until melted and smooth. The sauce should be the consistency of Alfredo sauce. If it's too thin, continue to cook it until it reaches your desired consistency. If it's too thick, add a bit more half and half or water.
- Combine the pasta and the sauce.
Gradually add the angel hair to the sauce, stirring to combine. Garnish with chopped fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Serve this easy pasta side with:
- Chicken. This would be great with chicken on top. Our Easy Marinated Pan-Seared Chicken Breast would be perfect for this.
- Shrimp. This would be delicious with shrimp. We don't have any solitary shrimp recipes, but the shrimp in this shrimp and pesto pasta would be great over this pasta.
- By itself! Just because this pasta doesn't have meat in it doesn't mean it can't be a side. Pile it on your plate and eat it as a main meal. I won't judge.
Garlic Parmesan Angel Hair Pasta: FAQs
I'm all about making things healthier, but I haven't tried that with this recipe. It's so good the way it is, and I honestly don't think it'd taste the same if I tried to use lower fat milk, less cheese, or vegetable-based pasta. Sometimes unhealthy is perfectly ok. That said, I don't recommend substitutions for this recipe. If you want something a little lighter, try checking out some of our "healthy-ish" recipes.
I'd highly recommend it. Freshly-grated parmesan cheese is so much better than pre-shredded. I know everyone says that, but it's just so true. If you can't find a block of good parmesan, romano cheese also tastes amazing in this recipe. If you must use pre-shredded parmesan, make sure you get the real stuff--don't use fake powdered parmesan.
Sure! Just follow the same instructions, but replace the angel hair with your favorite gluten-free pasta.