This creamy asparagus bow tie pasta is a quick and easy one pan side dish for your next weeknight meal. Bow tie pasta is tossed with lightly steamed asparagus in a creamy parmesan sauce.
You're going to love this recipe for creamy asparagus bow tie pasta. First, the entire dish comes together in a single pan.
Second, it's absolutely filled with flavor. Onion and garlic are sauteed on butter, then the creamy sauce is lightly flavored with red pepper flakes and salty parmesan cheese.
Lastly, this recipe is super easy to add protein in. Toss in a handful of rotisserie chicken, or make some Sautéed Garlic Butter Shrimp on the side. Or, leave the dish as is and enjoy on your next meatless Monday!
Ingredients and substitutions
Vegetable broth can be substituted with chicken broth or beef broth.
Butter can be substituted with olive oil, but I prefer the flavor the butter adds to this recipe.
Bow tie pasta can be substituted with any medium sized dried pasta you have on hand. Penne is a great choice.
Keep in mind that with whatever pasta you're using for this recipe, you'll want to consult the package's cooking times and adjust the recipe as needed to cook your pasta properly.
Thickening your sauce
The benefit of boiling your pasta in the pan is that the starch that is released into the water will also thicken your sauce.
This means that you won't need any other thickeners like cornstarch or flour for this recipe. It's also very important to accurately measure your pasta and liquids. They're measured to perfectly cook without leaving extra liquid in the pan.
If your sauce appears thin, remove your pan from the heat and allow to rest, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. The pasta will continue to soak up moisture in the pan and your sauce will thicken over time.
What to serve with asparagus pasta
- Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- Marmalade Glazed Ham
- Grilled cheese
- Sautéed Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Shredded rotisserie chicken
- Freezer Garlic Bread
- Garlic Bread Cheese Bombs
Or - on its own as a meatless meal! Add a handful of spinach or sliced mushrooms along with the asparagus for a more filling dish.
Creamy Asparagus Bow Tie Pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 6 ounces bow tie pasta uncooked
- 16 ounces vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces asparagus
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Gently bend each asparagus spear until it breaks naturally (Usually 1-2 inches in from the bottom). Discard the woody end, then slice remaining spear into thirds. Set aside.
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes - onions will begin to brown and turn translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add bow tie pasta, vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, and pepper to pan. Scrape to deglaze pan as needed. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 9 minutes (or consult your pasta package directions and cook to al dente, minus 4 minutes).
- Uncover, add asparagus, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for an additional 4 minutes (for very thin asparagus, reduce time to 3 minutes. For very thick asparagus, increase time to 5 minutes).
- Uncover pan. Most of liquid should be absorbed. Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 minutes to heat through and allow cheese to melt.
- Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving (sauce will continue to thicken as it stands).
- Vegetable broth can be substituted with chicken broth or beef broth.
- Butter can be substituted with olive oil.
- If substituting bow tie pasta with another style of pasta, consult your pasta's cooking directions and adjust recipe times accordingly.