This creamy pasta with cottage cheese sauce offers a lighter, protein-rich alternative to traditional pasta dishes. The sauce itself is made with cottage cheese, milk, and seasonings, all blended until silky smooth. Perfect for a quick, delicious meal!
About cottage cheese pasta sauce
Even though I love pasta with marinara sauce on any day of the week, I always look to diversify our busy weeknight dinners.
At first, the cottage cheese sauce recipe idea seemed so easy, until I tried making it.
It was trickier than I expected and it took me a few tries to make it right.
The problem was that the cottage cheese was curdling and the sauce needed more favors.
This homemade sauce does not need heavy seasoning, but adding garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and a hint of nutmeg made it quite perfect.
When I made it the first time, I added grated Parmesan and pasta water to the blended cottage cheese mixture and then heated it in a skillet.
As a result, the cottage cheese curled and the sauce became lumpy.
While I knew that cottage cheese was supposed to curdle a little bit, my goal was to make the dish look and taste as creamy as possible.
So I had to skip the Parmesan cheese (save it for serving), add some milk, and avoid overheating the sauce.
It took me a few tries, but in the end, I was happy with the result. The pasta was creamy, tangy, and seasoned just right.
My family calls it cottage cheese Alfredo pasta. I won't claim it tastes exactly like traditional Alfredo sauce. However, it can be a great alternative.
Below is just the overview of the ingredients I used to make the recipe. For best results, do not skip any ingredients.
Please, see the recipe card at the end for the full ingredient list, quantities, and step-by-step instructions.
- Pasta: I like to use penne pasta, Penned has those ridges that provide a good grip for holding onto the creamy sauce. You can make the dish with any other pasta you have in your pantry. For a gluten-free version, I like to use lentil pasta, as it has the best texture.
- Butter: Butter is added to cooked pasta. It makes the dish more rich. Butter also helped with the texture of the dish, when the sauce is added.
- Cottage cheese: full-fat cottage cheese. Avoid the low-fat version, as the sauce will be not as creamy.
- Milk: I used whole milk. You can also use skim milk, half and half, or heavy cream instead. Milk is needed to make the sauce creamy and it prevent it from being lumpy.
- Seasonings: I used Italian herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, and black pepper.
This recipe takes only 20 minutes to make, so ensure you have all the ingredients ready before you start.
Cook pasta: fill a large pot with water, add salt, and bring it to a boil.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook it according to package instructions, for about 11-12 minutes or until al dente.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it using a colander and return it to a pot.
Add a little butter to hot pasta and stir it so butter fully melts and coats it.
Make the sauce: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a high-speed blender or a food processor, add full-fat cottage cheese, whole milk, Italian herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, and black pepper.
Blend on high until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
You can also add a pinch of salt to taste as well. I never do, as for me cottage cheese already has enough salt.
Add sauce: Now, pour the blended cottage cheese sauce over the pasta and turn the heat back on the lowest setting.
Stir everything with a silicone or wooden spoon until the sauce heats up, but do not let it boil. If it boils or becomes too hot, that's when it will curdle.
As soon as the pasta is well coated with the sauce and it gets warmed up, take it off the heat.
Serve right away with some black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.
As I explained above, this recipe can be tricky (even if it looks so easy at first) as the cottage cheese-based sauce can easily curdle.
Make sure to follow my tips below for the best results:
- Add the milk to cottage cheese for a creamier texture and avoid adding Parmesan to the sauce. Use grated Parmesan for serving only.
- To avoid blended sauce, do not forget about the listed herbs and seasonings.
- Once you add the sauce back to the pasta, heat it briefly over low heat, while stirring consistently. Boiling and overheating the sauce will make it lumpy.
- Skip the fresh garlic, as it is too strong for this dish. Use garlic powder instead.
How to store the leftovers
Pasta with cottage cheese sauce is best when enjoyed right away.
If there are leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container and enjoy them within 2 days.
The next day, I reheated the pasta in the microwave. And while it tasted great, the sauce texture changed a little bit.
So if you need to make this recipe ahead of time, I recommend storing the sauce separately and adding it to the freshly cooked pasta.
This creamy cottage cheese pasta can be a complete meal itself with as simple as a green salad on the side.
If you'd like to serve it with other sides, try our favorite dishes below that go well with this dish.
Frequently asked questions
This cottage cheese pasta sauce is made of full-fat cottage cheese, milk, Italian herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, and a little bit of nutmeg.
Yes, you can blend the sauce and store it in the fridge for two days. You may need to give it a stir before using it.
Textured types of pasta like penne, rigatoni, and fusilli work best with cottage cheese sauce.
More vegetarian pasta recipes to try
Pasta With Cottage Cheese Sauce
- 1 blender or a food processor
- 3 cups penne pasta, dry
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup cottage cheese, full fat
- 4 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Boil pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon butter and stir it until the butter melts.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a blender, add ½ cup cottage cheese, 3 tablespoon milk, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, 1 pinch nutmeg, and some black pepper.
- Add the cottage cheese sauce to the pot and turn the stove on low heat. Let the sauce warm it up, stirring it often (do not let the sauce boil and overheat). Once warm, take it off the heat. Serve pasta right away with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.