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Gemelli pasta has a corkscrew-shape that traps sauces beautifully, from light and vibrant to creamy and decadent! Dive into this guide for the best creamy gemelli recipe, and why this unique shape deserves a spot in your pantry.

Gemelli Pasta

Want to take your pasta shapes up a notch? Instead of the standard spirals, here’s a shape that has captured our heart: gemelli pasta! The unique corkscrew 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. It’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying in just 20 minutes!

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!

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:

Serving it as a main dish? Try it alongside a salad like chopped salad, kale salad, apple walnut salad, radicchio salad, pear salad, or these salad recipes.

Gemelli Pasta

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
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Milk
  • 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.
Gemelli Pasta

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…

Vegetarian.

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Gemelli Pasta

Creamy Gemelli Pasta


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. Add the spinach and salt and cook 2 minutes more, until the spinach is wilted.
  4. 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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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2 Comments

  1. Bit of an odd question, where are you getting your gemelli? Both my mom and I haven’t been able to find it since the supply issues of the Covid lockdown. Any suggestions for an online purchase or a major grocery chain supply? Thanks for any help!

    1. Hi! There are several stores in Indianapolis that carry it. My best tip is to search Instacart website for your city and it will let you know who stocks it. If you’re looking for an online order, Delallo makes top notch pasta (and many other Italian foods).