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Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce on a plate

Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce is a simple homemade dish infused with layers of creamy full-bodied flavor that steal the show every time.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce, Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe, How Do I make Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe, How to make Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 504kcal
Author Kathleen


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces prosciutto chopped
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained, rinsed, patted dry, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine divided
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons canned crushed tomato divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 pound cavatappi
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves julienned


  • In a large, high-sided skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the prosciutto, onion, and red pepper flakes and cook until the onions are very soft, about 10 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium-high and stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly for 30-45 seconds. Add tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Pour 1/4 cup of wine in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until all the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Cook the Cavatappi until al dente, according to package instructions. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain Cavatappi well then return it back to the cooking pot.
  • Add 2 cups of the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover partially, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, (a spoon dragged through the sauce will leave a trail) about 15 minutes. Add cream, basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of wine to thicken the sauce. Stir to combine. Adjust seasoning.
  • Toss Cavatappi with sauce. Adjust the consistency with cooking water as needed. Serve immediately.


  • Make sure to caramelize the onions.
  • Adding a little pasta water to the sauce is an old chef’s trick. While the recipe says to adjust the consistency of the sauce as needed, I find that ¼ cup of pasta water is ideal.
  • Other pasta with ridges will work if you can't find cavatappi pasta. Fusilli regate, penne regate, and penne mostaccioli are all great pasta substitutes


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 876mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 869IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg