This pasta recipe is a one-pot meal with tons of flavor and it’s rich and creamy without being too heavy. 

In this easy dish, bow tie pasta is tossed in a quick and creamy sundried tomato parmesan cream sauce.

Add in a handful of fresh spinach for the perfect Meatless Monday meal or serve with shrimp or chicken!

creamy bow tie pasta in a skillet

Why We Love This Pasta Recipe

  • This crowd-pleasing bowtie pasta comes together in about 20 minutes or so.
  • It’s a meatless meal but pairs well with chicken or seafood too (like shrimp or scallops).
  • The prep for this pasta dish is fast and easy.
  • It uses items I usually have in my pantry.
Creamy Bow Tie Pasta ingredients with labels

Ingredients

Bow Tie Pasta – Bow tie pasta (also known as farfalle) is a fun and bite-sized pasta shaped like bow ties or butterflies. The ridges give the sauce something to cling to while the shape holds up well to a rich sauce.

Swap it for any type of pasta like penne, rigatoni, and rotini.

Creamy Sauce – This recipe uses light cream and chicken broth thickened with a bit of cornstarch. We love it because it still has a rich flavor and texture without using heavy whipping cream.

Parmesan cheese also helps thicken and of course, adds lots of flavor. For a twist, stir in a little homemade pesto and if time is really short, use a jar of store-bought Alfredo sauce.

Sundried Tomatoes – There really is no substitute that will add the same flavor as sundried tomatoes. We prefer oil-packed tomatoes if possible. If you don’t have any, you can substitute a little bit of tomato paste for some tangy flavor.

creamy bow tie pasta in a bowl

Variations and Additions

  • Veggies – Add in your cooked veggies like peas, broccoli, asparagus, onions, diced bell peppers, or sliced mushrooms.
  • Seasonings – In addition to Italian seasoning, try red pepper flakes
  • Add Protein – Mix in bay shrimp, cooked Italian sausage, bacon bits, chicken meatballs, or top portions with slices of grilled chicken or shrimp.
Steps for making creamy bow tie pasta

How to Make Bow Tie Pasta

  1. Cook Pasta: Cook farfalle pasta until ‘al dente’ (firm). Drain pasta, reserving some pasta water.
  2. Make Sauce:
    1. Cook garlic and seasoning until fragrant.
    2. Whisk in cream, broth, sundried tomatoes, and a bit of cornstarch. Simmer.
  3. Combine Pasta & Sauce: Add pasta, fresh spinach, and parmesan cheese, simmer a minute or two adding pasta water if needed.

Serving Suggestions

This bow tie pasta recipe is rich so we love to serve it with bread and a fresh salad.

Pro Tips for Bow Tie Pasta

  • Salt the pasta water generously. Do not rinse the pasta after cooking (or add olive oil to the water), the excess starch helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
  • If desired, use a tablespoon of oil from the sundried tomatoes in place of butter.
  • Heavy cream can be added in place of light cream. Reduce cornstarch to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
  • If the sauce isn’t thick enough, let it simmer an extra minute or two.
  • If using frozen spinach, be sure to squeeze out the liquid between two clean paper towels so it won’t water down the sauce. You’ll just need a few ounces.
  • Store leftover creamy bow tie pasta in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Add a bit of cream or milk before reheating.

More Pasta Recipes

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creamy bow tie pasta in a skillet
4.91 from 22 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Creamy Bow Tie Pasta

Farfalle noodles are served with a creamy sauce, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients  

  • 16 ounces bow tie pasta (farfalle) save ½ cup pasta water
  • 2 ¼ cups light cream
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth not reduced sodium
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes drained and diced
  • 1 ½ cups fresh spinach leaves slightly chopped, or baby spinach
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Combine cream, broth, and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (firm). Reserve ½ cup pasta water and drain pasta well. Do not rinse.
  • While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir the broth mixture and add to the saucepan with sundried tomatoes. Simmer for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add bow ties, 3 tablespoons of pasta water, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is heated through, adding more pasta water if needed.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan if desired.

Notes

  • For light cream, we use Half & Half or a cream that is about 12%M.F.
  • Salt the pasta water generously. Do not rinse the pasta after cooking (or add olive oil to the water), the excess starch helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
  • If desired, use a tablespoon of oil from the sundried tomatoes in place of butter.
  • Heavy cream can be added in place of light cream. Reduce cornstarch to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
  • If the sauce isn’t thick enough, let it simmer for an extra minute or two.
  • Store leftover creamy bow tie pasta in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Add a bit of cream or milk before reheating.
4.91 from 22 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1.75cups | Calories: 783 | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 737mg | Potassium: 649mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2208IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 331mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. This was really tasty. I added sautéed mushrooms when I cooked the garlic. The sauce turns out perfectly. At the end I added some leftover Italian sausage. This is such a good basic recipe. You could leave it alone or add whatever you want. It was delicious. My husband said it’s a keeper. Thank you, Holly!5 stars

  2. Holly, first I have to tell you that at least 75% of recipes I make are from spendwithpennies.com! Your recipes are easy to follow, use ingredients that are readily available at the grocery, and best of all your dishes are delicious! When I make a new recipe for the first time my husband likes to give it a grade. This Creamy BowTie Pasta received an A++! (Recipes have to at least get an A to be a keeper!)
    I did use the heavy cream, reducing cornstarch as directed. The sauce thickened just perfectly without having to add extra pasta water. I more than doubled the amount of fresh baby spinach as 1 1/2 cups just didn’t seem to be enough. Lastly, I seared some sea scallops in cast iron skillet, using some of the oil from sun dried tomatoes and served them on the side. Thanks, Holly for another great recipe.5 stars

  3. Hi Holly, we’re not fans of sun dried tomatoes. Think roasted red peppers would be an okay substitute? This looks sooo good!

    1. I haven’t tried it but it sounds delicious. You might need to up the seasonings a little bit.

  4. I tasted the at the end and it lacked flavor. I then added fresh herbs from my garden – basil, Italian parsley and rosemary, lots of pepper, 4 ounces of cream cheese and some red pepper flakes. Much more flavor. Love the base of this dish. Thank you for sharing3 stars

    1. That should work just fine, it’ll change the flavor slightly (I do find veggie broth to be a little bit sweeter).

  5. I made this tonight for dinner and boy was it ever a hit with everyone! My Son and I are all about pasta and pasta that’s Alfredoish is even more magical. I made ours with meatballs but it would still be WOW all by itself. Chicken or Shrimp would pare excellent with this dish as well . This one’s a definite keeper and I’m already looking forward to making it next time. I double batched this tonight and I’m glad I did . I know what’s for lunch tomorrow already. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us .5 stars

  6. Hello, this recipe looks amazing. I’m looking forward to making this. I have a few questions. Can this recipe be doubled. Also can a person substitute or leave out the sun dried tomatoes? I’ve never had them before. Thanks for posting the recipe.

    1. I haven’t tried doubling it but it should work because there is more liquid, you’ll likely need to let it simmer longer in step 4 until thickened.

      You can replace the sundried tomatoes with tomato paste but if you haven’t tried them, they’re so good! The flavor is really unique, a bit tangy, and delicious. :)