Creamy Pasta – Hold the Cream, Please!

I like the idea of cream-based pasta sauces. What’s not to like, right? Thick, rich, cheesy. On paper, in a picture, on a plate it SEEMS great.

Well, guess what – Foodie confession #465….I’m not a big fan. In fact, if a recipe calls for heavy cream (except if it’s ice cream or used sparingly in desserts – like ganache) I will always skip over it. I don’t cook with cream. Ever.

Let’s just pretend it’s because I’m trying to avoid the calories and fat. Really, that’s just a bonus. I would like to enjoy a creamy sauce or soup every now and then – everything in moderation – but, alas, it is not meant to be. I can’t eat things like that. 😦 I get sick. What a bummer!

I’m always on the lookout for a way to get a creamy fix without actually using cream. I’ve had great luck with cheese and bechamel sauces with a low-fat milk base but I’m always up for something new and different. This recipe from Ellie Krieger totally hit the spot. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this was, given how simple the ingredients were. The bright orange color of the sauce, made from roasted red peppers and feta cheese, was surprisingly appealing too. The only changes I made were that I swapped out fettuccine for penne and topped with shredded parm cheese instead of additional feta. I only had about 4 ounces total, so I used all the cheese in the sauce. All in all, a very easy, delicious weeknight meal. I’ll be making this again for sure!

One year ago: “Fried” Vermicelli and Green Onions – This is one of our FAVES. So good and so easy! 🙂

PENNE WITH CREAMY RED PEPPER SAUCE (Recipe Source: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • One 16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • One box whole wheat penne
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Heat the oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer the red pepper mixture to a food processor, add the broth and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta (I added all my feta). Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding the pasta water by the tablespoon if needed. The sauce should cling nicely to the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among serving bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and reserved feta (or parm!) and serve.



Filed under pasta, veggies

9 responses to “Creamy Pasta – Hold the Cream, Please!

  1. Great Picture – this looks awesome!

  2. Erin

    This looks delicious! I love creamy sauces, but I think tomato sauces are even better 🙂

  3. I love the simple list of ingredients used and the picture looks fantastic! Adding to my list to try soon 🙂

  4. YUM! I am always looking for new pasta ideas! I will have to give this one a try!

  5. I never cook with cream either, so I’m always disappointed when a recipe that looks good uses it. This looks fabulous! I think I’m going to try it with some Italian sausage.

  6. This is one tasty sounding pasta!

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  8. What a great photo! It looks so fresh with all of the parsley!

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