Garlic Parmesan Pasta is light and creamy, perfect to serve as a side dish for your favorite protein or as a super simple main dish. This easy recipe is a one pot pasta with tender noodles, a cheesy, creamy garlic sauce and the best part is it’s ready in 20 minutes!
The garlic pasta sauce is creamy and tastes like an Alfredo Sauce. To lighten it up, I used half skim milk and half heavy cream. You could use any ratio of milk and cream that you like, or even no cream at all. The more cream you use, the richer the sauce will be.
The best part you can have this dish on the table in 20 minutes, depending on how you cook it. I’ve included two methods below. Enjoy!
Uncooked linguine or fettuccine noodles – this is the type of pasta I commonly use. You could really use any pasta you like but you may have to adjust the cooking time.
Chicken broth (or stock) – if you don’t have broth handy, water can be used as a substitute. Just be sure to taste and add salt as needed.
Salt and pepper – you can also add 1/4-½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning, dried oregano, or basil for additional seasoning.
1 cup milk/cream – use any ratio of milk to cream, or use half and half.
Parmesan cheese – freshly grated off the block
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
Step by Step Instructions
* Be sure to see the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients and full instructions *
Saute garlic in a 12-inch skillet. Garlic cooks quickly, so you’ll only want to cook it for about a minute.
Add the pasta, salt, pepper, butter, chicken stock, and milk/cream to the skillet. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. It’s hard to stir long, uncooked noodles, so using tongs works great to help toss them around in the sauce.
Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is cooked to al dente. You can also cook the pasta with the lid off at a higher heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes for an even quicker dish.
Turn off the heat and toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. Add Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the pasta, tossing with tongs to get it well incorporated and melted. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Expert Tips and FAQs
When the pasta is cooked there should still be just a little liquid left in the pan. As you stir in the Parmesan cheese this liquid will help to create the creamy sauce.
Add the Parmesan gradually and in a thin layer evenly across the top of the pasta, then gently toss to melt and coat the pasta. Do this in batches if necessary to ensure the cheese doesn’t clump as it melts.
I will sometimes grate the block of cheese right into the pasta, tossing as I go, to avoid clumping.
Always use fresh, grated off-the-block Parmesan. The pre-grated and pre-shredded won’t melt and you’ll end up with a grainy sauce.
If your pasta sauce is too thick, just add a few splashes of milk or cream at a time. Toss with each addition until your desired consistency is reached.
For an extra creamy sauce, or if you need to thicken your sauce, add a couple ounces of softened cream cheese.
Storage: Once pasta is cooled and within 2 hours of cooking, store leftover garlic parmesan pasta in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat: You can reheat your pasta in the microwave or on the stovetop in a skillet (recommended). Before heating, add a splash of milk to help the sauce bind together, and reheat gradually and at a low temperature for best results.
1cupwarmed milk/cream (I use half nonfat milk and half heavy creamuse any ratio of milk-cream and warm for 30 seconds in the microwave.
1/2cupfresh shredded Parmesan cheeseoff the block
1tablespoonfresh minced parsley, for garnish
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil and add garlic. Stir and cook until garlic becomes fragrant and just starts to brown; about 1 minute. Add pasta, salt, pepper, butter, chicken stock and milk/cream. Stir and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. OR cook and stir constantly for about 10 minutes for a quicker finish.
Remove from heat, toss pasta, and gradually stir in Parmesan Cheese. *Pro-tip – I use a microplane and grate right over the pasta.
Garnish with fresh minced parsley, if desired.
This recipe serves 4 people as a side dish and can easily be doubled to serve 4 people as a meal. The ingredients can be doubled, but you may only need to adjust the cooking time slightly.Use any pasta you like, linguine, fettuccine, rotini. You may need to adjust the cooking time based on the pasta chosen. If your sauce is too thick, add a few splashes of warm milk and toss. Add more as needed until desired consistency is reached. For a thicker, creamier sauce, add a few ounces of full-fat, brick-style cream cheese.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.