This restaurant-inspired recipe comes from a small Italian restaurant that is run by a family of chefs. They have recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation although they put their own modern twist on their vintage family dishes. This dish is my rendition of their popular cream and parmesan dish.
The cavatappi (or corkscrew) pasta noodles are the basis of this dish. I like them because they are fun to eat and are easier to pick up than long noodles like fettuccine.
The major requirement for this dish is to use freshly grated parmesan. The taste and texture can change if you use the prebagged or bottled parmesan cheeses. I did a taste test with bagged parmesan, bottled parmesan, and freshly grated from a cheese block. The freshly grated won hands down over the others. The bagged shredded parmesan didn’t melt well and the sauce was clumpy. The shaker bottled grated parmesan cheese had a different taste that just didn’t work for this dish.
The cream is also a must for this dish so be careful making substitutions.
Depending on how much liquid from the cream cooks out of this dish, you might need to add a little cooked pasta water to thin the sauce. If I forget and drain the pasta without reserving liquid, I just add a little more cream. The best way to do it is to heat the cream before adding it so it doesn’t cool down the pasta.
Enjoy this pasta dish with some crusty Italian bread!