cream cheese pasta
cream cheese pasta

Cream Cheese Pasta with Bacon, Chives, and Corn

5/5
The BEST quick and easy weeknight dinner! Cook your favorite pasta noodles and toss them with this creamy sauce made with cream cheese, smoked paprika, and Parmesan.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes
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cream cheese pasta with chives, bacon, corn, and smoked paprika

I’ve been wanting to experiment with cream cheese sauce with pasta for a while, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. It’s basically like the short-cut, more adult version of macaroni and cheese.

cream cheese pasta with chives, bacon, corn, and smoked paprika

This creamy, dreamy pasta is pure soul food — the very kind that makes you want to sway to the tune of your own humming as you mmm-mmm-mmm your way through.

Pretty much everything in this pasta is good on its own, so I can hardly take credit here. There’s bacon, corn, chives, and loads of Parmesan, so it’s pretty much taken care of in the flavor department.

Just when I thought this dish couldn’t get any better, it hit me. Smoked paprika. It’s a gift from the spice Gods and it totally transports the ingredients into this smoky, savory dimension.

What is smoked paprika?

If you’ve never experienced smoked paprika, it’s one of those special spices that can transform an already good thing into something extraordinary. It’s available in the spice aisle and includes a dried blend of red peppers that are mild, not spicy. If you like it, you’ll also like this Chicken Fusilli in Smokey Cream Sauce.

Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce Variations:

If you aren’t using bacon as a flavor base in this dish, you will need to start the sauce with some olive oil and maybe a clove of minced garlic instead. You just need to stir the garlic for 30 seconds before proceeding with the cream cheese and pasta water. Here are some ideas:

  • cream cheese, smoked salmon, dill, and capers
  • cream cheese, shredded barbecue chicken, cheddar, and cherry tomatoes
  • cream cheese, broccoli florets, parsley, and Parmesan

*If I’ve missed something that you’ve tried, feel free to leave your favorite combo in the comments below!

Storing and Reheating Pasta

Pasta water is how we achieve the consistency of this sauce, so I like to add a few tablespoons of water to the bowl when reheating the pasta. Once the water is hot, it’s easy to stir and get a similar saucy texture. Leftover pasta can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Gluten-Free Variation

Since everything is already gluten-free, you can just use your favorite gluten-free pasta. Really, I think this would be equally fantastic with rice, too. For rice, I would recommend cooking about 2 cups dry so that you end up with a good amount to go with all the sauce.

More Recipes You Might Like:

Cream Cheese Pasta with Bacon, Chives, and Corn

The BEST quick and easy weeknight dinner! Cook your favorite pasta noodles and toss them with this creamy sauce made with cream cheese, smoked paprika, and Parmesan.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, corn, cream cheese, gluten free, paprika, parmesan, pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 554kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini

Ingredients

  • salt
  • 16 oz pasta uncooked*
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 ears corn about 1 cup
  • 5 oz Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1/2 oz chives sliced finely

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Generously salt the pasta water and cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente (*reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta water). Strain in a colander set in the sink.
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy on both sides, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to pluck the bacon out of the grease and set aside. Reserve the bacon grease and add the smoked paprika and cream cheese. Immediately add the reserved pasta water and simmer until the cream cheese is very soft; lumps are ok at this stage.
  • Chop the bacon and add to the cream cheese sauce along with the corn and pasta. Fold to distribute the sauce, then add the Parmesan and fold again. Taste and add more salt or paprika if it needs it. Serve right away with chives for garnish, if desired. If the pasta gets too sticky, you can add more boiling water to reconstitute the sauce.

Video

Notes

Pasta: This recipe can accommodate between 15 ounces to 1 pound dry pasta. You can use gluten free or wheat noodles. Any type of noodles works in this recipe. If you don’t have pasta, you could substitute steamed rice.
Paprika: I highly recommend the “smoked paprika” for this dish because it has a smokier, more savory flavor than regular paprika that really compliments the sweetness of the corn.
Corn: I used 2 ears for this recipe, but you could easily add more or less. If you want to substitute canned or frozen corn, you’ll need about 1 cup.
Bacon: Since I used a wide bacon, I only needed 3 slices. If you want to increase to 4 or 5 slices, that’s totally fine.
Chives: Personally, I think the chives take this dish to a whole new level, but if you can’t use them, I would try green onions instead, which have a similar flavor profile.

Nutrition

Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 311mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1657IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 339mg | Iron: 2mg

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Juju
Juju
7 months ago

So glad to have stumbled across this recipe! I was looking for last minute meals with simple ingredients. Luckily I had enough cream cheese to make this happen. Made it last night and it came out absolutely delicious! So creamy, but not too heavy with a bit of a kick. I didn’t have paprika so I used Korean red chili flakes instead and it came out great! Finished it with garlic salt to intensify the flavors. 10/10 will make again 🙂

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