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Cream Cheese Pasta served on a curved white plate on a marble surface
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5 from 16 votes

Cream Cheese Pasta

Here I'll show you a secret tip to getting truly creamy Cream Cheese Pasta without the sauce drying up. With just 5 ingredients, this easy pasta dish is a total winner!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2
Calories: 761kcal
Cost: £2.50 / $3

Equipment

  • Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Pasta Tongs
  • Fine Cheese Grater
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Mug or 1 cup Measuring Cup (for scooping pasta water)

Ingredients

  • 7oz / 200g Spaghetti
  • 3.5oz / 100g Cream Cheese
  • 3.5oz / 100g Ham, chopped (see notes for subs)
  • 1/3 cup / 20g freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 clove of Garlic, finely diced
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • dash of Olive Oil, for frying

Instructions

  • Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente. Right before draining, reserve a cup of starchy pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan heat a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat and fry garlic and ham for a few minutes until lightly browned.
  • Melt in 2 tbsp butter, then add about 1/3 cup of starchy pasta water. Quickly whisk in a circular motion to create an emulsion and combine the starchy water with the butter. The water should go cloudy and thicken slightly.
  • Turn heat down slightly then stir in cream cheese and add parmesan. Season to taste then add spaghetti. Toss through the sauce, using your starchy water to thin out the sauce if needed. Serve with extra helpings of parmesan. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

a) What Cream Cheese to use? - I use Philadelphia (not sponsored) but use a good quality brand. The cream cheese is the main event so don't skimp out on something low quality. 
b) How much pasta water to use? - Start off with 1/3 cup to create the emulsion, add in all of your other ingredients and then adjust accordingly. Important to scoop the water out JUST before draining to ensure it's nice and starchy (the starch is what helps turn the sauce creamy). Also important to heavily salt the water so you don't dilute the flavour of the sauce.
c) What Can I add to Cream Cheese Pasta? - I use leftover ham because that's usually what's knocking about in my fridge, but you can really add anything you fancy! Just keep it to around 3.5oz/100g so you don't overload the pasta. Other ideas are:
  • Bacon
  • Mushrooms
  • Leftover Chicken
  • Roasted Veggies
  • Smoked Sausage
Seasoning wise this creamy sauce takes on fresh thyme nicely. You could also spice it up with a pinch of chilli flakes!
d) Can I reheat this pasta? - I wouldn't make this ahead of time for the purpose of reheating. Fresh is certainly best. BUT, don't waste leftovers. Just tightly cover in the fridge for 2-3days then reheat on the stove over a low heat with a splash of milk or cream to loosen up the sauce again.
e) Calories - based on using 1 tsp olive oil for frying and shared between 2 people.

Nutrition

Calories: 761kcal | Carbohydrates: 82.53g | Protein: 30.02g | Fat: 34.22g | Saturated Fat: 17.928g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.142g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10.108g | Trans Fat: 0.146g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 994mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 4.27g | Vitamin A: 2300IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 220mg | Iron: 4mg