Pasta is a versatile and easy to make dinner that can be jazzed up with all kinds of mix-ins.
This creamy spinach pasta recipe takes a classic pasta dish to the next level with the addition of fresh spinach and a rich, creamy sauce. The end result is a restaurant-worthy meal that comes together in under 30 minutes.
Tips and Tricks for Making the Perfect Creamy Spinach Pasta
- Chop the garlic and shallot finely so they cook quickly and evenly. Mincing them can lead to burns.
- Add a splash of lemon juice or white wine vinegar at the end for extra brightness.
- Use high-quality Parmesan for the best flavor. Freshly grated is even better.
- Let the sauce simmer for a full 10 minutes to thicken. If it’s still too thin, sprinkle a bit more flour.
- The starchy pasta water helps bind the sauce. Be sure to reserve some before draining the pasta.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce immediately after draining so it soaks up all the flavor.
- Garnish with extra Parmesan, fresh basil, or a drizzle of olive oil for added richness.
- Swap in arugula or kale for the spinach for more variety.
Proper storage of the ingredients and leftovers for Creamy Spinach Pasta is important for food safety and preserving freshness.
For the dry goods, store any unopened pasta, flour, and Parmesan in airtight containers in a cool, dry pantry. Once opened, it’s best to keep flour and Parmesan refrigerated in sealed containers. Pasta can be kept at room temperature for up to a year.
The fresh spinach and garlic should be refrigerated in breathable containers or bags until ready to use. Place them toward the front of the fridge, where temperatures are cooler. Spinach is delicate, so wash just before using.
Cooked creamy spinach pasta leftovers need to be refrigerated within 2 hours. Store them in an airtight container and use them within 3-5 days. The pasta may take on a slightly mushy texture upon reheating.
For longer storage, divide into freezer-safe portions and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
With a mix of dry goods and fresh ingredients, storing the components of creamy spinach pasta properly will help retain optimum flavor, texture, and safety. Following temperature recommendations and using suitable storage containers are key.
Label ingredients and leftovers with dates for easy identification. Proper storage prevents waste and keeps this pasta dish fresh and delicious.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
What type of pasta works best?
This creamy spinach sauce pairs well with short tubular or curly pastas like penne, rotini, cavatappi, or gemelli. The ridges and curves help grab the sauce. Whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta can also be substituted.
Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh?
Absolutely! Make sure to thaw and squeeze out any excess moisture from the frozen spinach before adding it to the skillet. You may need to decrease the cooking time by a minute or two.
What milk works best?
Low-fat or whole milk both work well and make a nice creamy sauce. For a richer sauce, half and half or heavy cream can also be substituted.
Can I make this sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the spinach sauce up to 3 days in advance. Simply cook the sauce, allow it to cool completely, and then refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat gently over medium-low heat before tossing with the cooked pasta.
Can I add chicken or shrimp?
Definitely! Sautéed, grilled, or baked chicken breast or shrimp would be delicious additions to this pasta. Make sure to cut the protein into bite-sized pieces and stir it in with the sauce and pasta.
Creamy Spinach Pasta
- 1 lb of pasta of choice (penne, rotini, farfalle, etc.)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 cups of fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook the pasta.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining. This will help thicken the sauce.
Make the creamy spinach sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 1–2 more minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the spinach and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute more.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure to break up any lumps in the flour. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for 5–10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.
- Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.
Put it all together.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce.
- Add a splash of the reserved pasta water and toss everything together over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until the pasta is coated.
- Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Serve immediately, garnished with extra Parmesan if desired. Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.