Gemelli pasta has a corkscrew-shape that traps sauces beautifully, from light and vibrant to creamy and decadent! Dive into this guide for cooking tips, recipe ideas, and why gemelli deserves a spot in your pantry.
Want to take your pasta shapes up a notch? Instead of the standard spirals, here’s a pasta shape that has captured our heart: gemelli pasta! The unique corkscrew shape not only looks beautiful, but its twists and turns are key to holding onto the flavor of sauces. Here’s our favorite way to serve it: smothered in a rich, garlicky Parmesan cream sauce. Tender spinach wilts into the mix, adding a pop of color and dose of vegetables. Each bite is a delightful dance of textures and flavors: creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying. Here’s more about this fun pasta shape: and scroll down for the recipe!
What is gemelli pasta?
Gemelli pasta is corkscrew shaped pasta. Gemelli means “twins” in Italian, referring to what looks like two strands wrapped around each other. But the shape is actually crafted from a single piece of pasta, twisted and twirled to create nooks and crannies that trap seasonings and flavor.
Gemelli works with a variety of sauces, from vibrant pesto to tangy marinara sauce or a rich and creamy alfredo. It’s great in everything from pasta salads to to pasta bakes. It has a more sophisticated appearance than the popular rotini. So ditch the spirals and embrace the playful, flavorful twist of gemelli pasta!
Best ways to serve gemelli pasta
Gemelli pasta works in a variety of types of recipes, from creamy sauces to tangy marinara, from pasta salads to pasta bakes. Substitute it in any recipe where you’d use a short cut pasta: it’s a perfect substitute for rotini (spirals), bow ties, or penne. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:
- Creamy sauces like creamy white sauce, lemon ricotta sauce, garlic butter sauce, sun dried tomato cream sauce, or white wine sauce
- Red sauces like marinara sauce, pomodoro sauce, arrabiata sauce, tomato basil sauce, or tomato cream sauce
- Pesto sauces like basil pesto, kale pesto or pesto cream sauce
- Pasta salads like classic pasta salad, Caprese pasta salad, Greek pasta salad, pesto pasta salad, Mediterranean pasta salad, orzo pasta salad, bow tie pasta salad
- Pasta bakes like baked ziti
Ingredients in this creamy gemelli recipe
Here’s our favorite way to serve gemelli pasta: with a creamy garlicky Parmesan sauce and spinach! This recipe is quick and simple, relying on a simple list of quality ingredients. Even better, leftovers even stay flavorful in the fridge (which is our personal test for a good pasta recipe). Here’s what you’ll need for this creamy gemelli pasta recipe:
- Gemelli pasta
- Heavy cream
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- All-purpose flour
- Fresh spinach
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Cook the pasta to al dente
The most important thing to remember when making any pasta is to cook the pasta to al dente! Al dente means “to the bite” in Italian, or when it’s tender with a small white speck inside when you bite into a piece. There’s nothing worse than soft, rubbery pasta. Here are a few tips for the perfect al dente pasta:
- Boil the pasta a few minutes less than indicated on the package instructions. Often package instructions make for overcooked pasta.
- Start taste testing early. Start taste testing and stop cooking when the pasta is just tender but you can still see a small white speck inside.
A note on serving size
The gemelli pasta recipe below makes enough for 8 ounces of pasta, which is technically 4 servings. However, we find that if you eat this pasta as a main dish, it makes more like 3 servings. Feel free to double the recipe if desired: click the 2X recipe button below!
Leftovers and storage info
Creamy gemelli pasta tastes the best the day it is made. However, the flavor still tastes great as leftovers! Store leftovers for up to 3 days refrigerated. You can reheat them in a skillet on the stove, adding a splash of milk to keep the sauce creamy. Or you can simply eat them cold (they’re still good!).
More pasta recipes
Want more tasty Italian pasta recipes and pasta sauces? Here are a few more ideas:
This gemelli pasta recipe is…
- 8 ounces gemelli pasta
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 cup 2% milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 4 to 5 cups (4 to 5 ounces) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Start a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente (check a few minutes before the package instructions indicate). Reserve about ½ cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss with a little olive oil if the sauce is not yet ready.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium low heat. Melt the butter, then add the garlic and oregano and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic is lightly browned and fragrant. Add the milk, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese has melted. In a small bowl, mix the flour with 1 tablespoon pasta water. Pour it into the pan with the sauce, then stir for 1 to 2 minutes until it thickens.
- Add the spinach and salt and cook 2 minutes more, until the spinach is wilted.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss. If necessary, add a few splashes of pasta water as necessary to make a creamy consistency. Top with fresh ground black pepper and serve. Enjoy immediately; leftovers last refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Category: Main dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Pasta
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Gemelli pasta