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This super easy One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula is the perfect easy recipe. I took a classic pasta recipe and updated it with a one pot cooking method and a rich and creamy sauce. Penne pasta tossed with herby garlic butter, then boiled until al dente. Add a splash of milk, a touch of cream, and a generous handful of parmesan cheese for a luscious, creamy penne Alfredo. Every bite of pasta has delicious Italian flavors that melt in your mouth. Fancy enough for the weekend, but easy enough to make any night of the week. And most importantly, it’s delicious!

overhead photo of One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula

Sharing the absolute easiest bowl of comfort food today. And you guys, it’s the perfect mid-week pasta to keep things exciting…and yes, delicious too. Growing up, fettuccini alfredo was something my dad would make only on the weekends as our special occasion pasta. Meaning dinner and a movie kind of Friday or Saturday night.

Oh my gosh, do you guys remember those days? I loved when my dad would make his creamy fettuccini and we’d all pile on the couch for a good movie.  I wouldn’t mind going back for just a day or so. Simply the best, right?

Lately, I’ve been drawing some inspiration from my favorite childhood comfort foods. Which made me realize that I don’t have a good stove-top Alfredo recipe that’s simple and flavorful like Dad’s. How that is I have not a clue. But the good news is that I quickly worked to change that, and created the perfect creamy, one-pot penne alfredo.

This. Is. So. Good…and easy too!

prep photo of garlic butter

As I said, I’ve been looking back to my days of living at home with my family for some inspiration recently. Alfredo was such a special pasta dish. We’d only have it every so often, but when my dad made it, it was always enjoyed.

I knew I wanted to create the perfect creamy alfredo that was similar to my dad’s, but all made in one pot, and hopefully just as delicious. With the addition of some spicy arugula on top, I was able to use way less cream, butter, and even cheese, to create a slightly lighter pasta. But yet still keep this dish as the super creamy, cheesy Alfredo that everyone loves.

prep photo of pasta cooking in pot

(pasta cooking in water and butter) 

One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula |

Here are all the details.

As you can guess, this is so quick and easy. Start by melting together some butter, garlic, and herbs. I love to use a mix of dried basil and oregano for a classic Italian sauce. Then add water and bring to a boil. Use a pot that will be large enough to hold the pasta and sauce.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and boil until al dente. Then simply stir in all the remaining ingredients. The key is to use a touch of cream cheese for an extra added creaminess. This creates the perfect amount of creamy sauce, but still keeps things on the lighter side.

photo of Spicy Arugula

Just before the sauce is finished cooking, stir in lots and lots of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for additional flavor and to finish out the recipe.


overhead photo of One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo in pot

Now finish it up…

While the sauce simmers, mix up a simple herby, spicy arugula salad. It’s just a quick mix of olive oil, lemon, shallots, and chili flakes tossed with arugula and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.

Serve the penne topped with the arugula and an extra dusting of parmesan…for good measure. When all combined together ’tis a very delicious meal that will remind you of your favorite restaurant-style Alfredo pasta. Or maybe, like me, it will remind you of childhood days enjoying creamy bowls of dad’s Alfredo!

What I love about this recipe is that it really does look and taste like a dish you’d order out from your favorite Italian spot. BUT, it’s all made at home in just 30 minutes, and all in ONE pot. It’s pretty hard to beat. If you wanted to add a little protein, I’d toss in some grilled or roasted pesto chicken. That would be delicious!!

overhead close up photo of One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula

Looking for other quick-cooking pasta dinners? Here are some of my favorites:

20 Minute Orzo Carbonara with Crispy Prosciutto and Burrata

20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

One Pot Baked Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Lastly, if you make this One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 595 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt together the butter, garlic, oregano, basil, onion powder, and a pinch of red pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Do not drain the water. Stir in the milk, cream, and cream cheese and cook until the cream cheese has melted and the pasta is al dente, about 4-5 minutes more.
    2. Stir in the parmesan until melted and creamy. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
    3. To make the arugula, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, and a pinch each of red pepper, salt, and pepper. Add the arugula and mixed herbs, toss to coat.
    4. Spoon the pasta into bowls and top with arugula and extra parmesan. Enjoy!

One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula |

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  1. 5 stars
    Such a good and easy recipe! I am definitely putting this in my rotation. I omitted the arugula salad part, and added chicken portion from your “Browned Sage Butter Chicken Piccata with Mushroom Pasta” recipe. Boyfriend approved. Yummmmm!

    1. Hi Amber,
      Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thank you so much for making it! xTieghan

  2. This was yummy! I omitted the arugula, as I was serving it to young kids, and swapped in some more kid-friendly veggies, cooked in the pot with the penne. I kept “tasting” the cheese sauce as it cooked. The flavor was much improved over the jarred sauces I ate as a kid!

    1. Hey there,
      Fantastic!! So great to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and thanks a lot for making it. Have a great week!🍂 xTieghan

  3. I thought I made a comment on here before but I don’t see it. Sorry if this is a duplicate! How would you recommend doing this recipe with fresh pasta? Definitely would cook the pasta separately since fresh pasta takes only a minute to cook and for the sauce I assume I could follow the recipe as-is but omit the 4 cups of water?

    1. Hey Christina,
      You would definitely want to omit the water, cook your pasta on the side, and then just add it to the sauce. I hope you love this dish, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

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