Creamy Farfalle Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onions. This simple meatless Italian dinner is pure comfort food! The bow-tie shaped pasta is perfectly matched with rich and buttery Parmesan sauce!
Farfalle – Bow Tie Pasta
- Farfalle pasta is meant to be used with creamy sauces, such as with chicken broccoli alfredo (with or without chicken) or with this creamy four-cheese pasta sauce. In fact, this farfalle recipe was inspired by another family favorite that features a rich creamy pasta sauce: spinach mushroom pasta.
- Farfalle works great both in meatless recipes and in dishes with meat. This particular recipe is meatless. However, you can easily add any kind of meat or seafood. Add easy seared chicken or grilled chicken to this creamy bow tie pasta. Who doesn’t like creamy pasta, especially if you add some chicken to it? It’s a perfect dish to make for a family weeknight dinner.
- If you enjoy seafood, add seared scallops with bacon or trout with garlic lemon butter sauce.
Farfalle: Italian Pasta
This Italian-inspired recipe features bow-tie shaped pasta smothered with easy cream sauce along with vegetables and mushrooms. You’ll love this simple comfort food on a plate.
- Simple ingredients. This recipe requires basic ingredients that you can buy pretty much at any store: bow-tie pasta, spinach, mushrooms, onions, garlic, cream, and Parmesan cheese.
- Packed with veggies. This meatless farfalle recipe uses spinach and caramelized onions. It’s a great and delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your dinners.
- Caramelized onions add so much flavor and sophistication to this dish!
- Weeknight dinner recipe. This easy recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have much time for cooking. It’s also a great recipe to use any leftover chicken. Just throw in some leftover cooked chicken together with creamy farfalle pasta, and you have a perfect family dinner!
- Flexible recipe. What I love about this creamy bow-tie pasta is that you can serve it as is, without meat! Or, you can add protein, if you like. Serve farfalle with grilled steak, grilled chicken, or fish.
What is farfalle?
- Farfalle is a bow-tie shaped Italian pasta. Farfalle pasta can also be described as butterfly-shaped pasta. In fact, “farfalle” means “butterflies” in Italian.
- Farfalle dates back to the 16th century in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna Regions in Northern Italy.
- Farfalle is often used with cream sauces and in tomato-based sauces. It’s also popular in salads.
- What can you use instead of farfalle? You can substitute penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or orecchiette for farfalle without affecting the flavor.
- What can you substitute for spinach? You can use kale, Swiss chard, or arugula instead of spinach.
- What kind of mushrooms can you use? Use button mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, portobello, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms.
- How to make this recipe gluten-free? Use gluten-free farfalle or other types of gluten-free pasta.
- What can you use instead of half-and-half? Use 1/2 cup of heavy cream + 1/2 cup of milk instead of 1 cup of half-and-half.
- Make-ahead tip. Make caramelized onions ahead of time, refrigerate them in an air-tight container, and use within the next 3 days. You can also freeze caramelized onions for up to 2 months and thaw them whenever you need them.
- If the creamy Parmesan sauce is too thick, slowly add a small amount of half-and-half to thin it out. Make sure the sauce continues to simmer and does not come to a standstill, while you add half-and-half to thin it out.
- If the creamy Parmesan sauce is too thin, add a small amount of shredded Parmesan cheese, and stir it in, while the sauce simmers.
How long do you cook farfalle?
- Usually, farfalle is cooked in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.
- To prepare farfalle al dente, cook farfalle for 8 minutes, or for 2 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions.
How to make farfalle pasta
- First, caramelize onions for 30 minutes to reach a nice deep brown color. (See: how to caramelize onions). This step can be made ahead. Make caramelized onions a day or two in advance and keep them refrigerated in an airtight container.
- Next, cook the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Then, add spinach to cooked mushrooms and stir until spinach wilts.
- Next, make the creamy pasta sauce. Add half-and-half and shredded Parmesan cheese to the skillet with spinach and mushrooms. Stir, while the sauce simmers, until the cheese melts.
- Add caramelized onions to the skillet.
- Add cooked and drained farfalle pasta to the skillet with the pasta sauce and reheat on low heat for a couple of minutes.
- Bread. Serve garlic bread or baguette with creamy farfalle pasta.
- Green Salad. Make a basic green salad, such as spinach or arugula salad. Use a simple dressing made with olive oil, coarsely ground black pepper, and shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Fresh salad. Make this tomato cucumber avocado salad or tomato mozzarella salad.
Other pasta recipes
- Linguine with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
- Fusilli Pasta with Spinach, Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
- Mushroom Ravioli with Spinach
Creamy Farfalle with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onions. The bow-tie pasta is perfectly matched with rich and buttery Parmesan sauce! Serve this easy meatless Italian meal as-is, or with grilled chicken! Satisfying and comforting dinner that a whole family will love!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 yellow onions , large, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 oz mushrooms , sliced (I used button mushrooms)
- 6 oz spinach
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese , shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz farfalle pasta
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add sliced onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring with the spatula.
The onions should start to brown, but without burning.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking onions for 10 more minutes, continuing to stir, as onions brown even more without burning. At this point add a pinch of salt over onions.
Continue cooking for 10 more minutes on medium or low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn.
In total, you should have cooked onions for 30 minutes.
Remove the skillet from heat and sprinkle the onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.
Using a spatula, stir the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with a pinch of balsamic vinegar you just added. Remove caramelized onions to a plate.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet on medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, until mushrooms are soft.
Add fresh spinach to the skillet and stir on low heat just until spinach starts to wilt.
Add half-and-half to the mushroom and spinach mixture and bring to a quick boil. Immediately reduce to simmer.
Add 2/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Keep stirring while the sauce simmers until the cheese melts.
Add caramelized onions back to the skillet with the pasta sauce.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
Add cooked and drained farfalle pasta to the creamy sauce. Stir on low heat for a couple of minutes to reheat.
If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half to thin it out. If it is too thin, add a small amount of shredded Parmesan cheese, and stir it in, while the sauce simmers.
Serve with more shredded parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Substitute for half-and-half: Use 1/2 cup of heavy cream + 1/2 cup of milk instead of 1 cup of half-and-half.