Everything bagel pasta comes together in just fifteen minutes and with only THREE ingredients. Grab all the flavors of your favorite bagel shop in this easy and comforting pantry pasta!
Alright, how are we all doing? My week by the numbers looked something like this:
5 – times all I wanted to do was walk to the local Wawa, go inside, and order a hoagie from the damn touchscreen.
4 – nights we ate sliders of various ilks and queso for dinner.
3 – instances where I broke a serious sweat while trying to install a car seat with Eddie. Seriously though, it was hard.
2 – the number of weeks it’s taken me to get motivated to actually write a blog post…oof.
1 – the number of groundhogs discovered in our backyard. We have named her Violet.
So…I’d say I’m doing…fine.
And when things are just fine, meh, or otherwise pandemicky there are lots of things to boost your mood. But after I’ve taken another shower (which is what amounts to a fun activity nowadays), gone for another walk, or watched another episode of “fill in the blank” show here, I always come back to the comfort staple – carbs.
Everything Bagel Pasta – A Pantry Pasta Miracle
This particular staple (a super simple pantry pasta) hits all the right notes – savory, a little cheesy, so so easy, and not at all a salad. And even though it would be great served along side something lovely and green, what makes this dish so spectucular is its stupid simplicity.
What You’ll Need – The List is SHORT
Uh, did I mention that this is a THREE INGREDIENT PANTRY PASTA RECIPE? Yeah, that’s right, three measly ingredients come together to make a delicious bowl of pasta love – it’s almost criminal, it’s so easy. So here’s the rundown.
- Pasta – I went for rigatoni, because that’s what I had, but you can honestly do this with any fresh or dry pasta shape.
- Cream cheese – Is a milky miracle. I mean think about it, the stuff can skirt the line between savory and sweet with ease, melts beautifully without curdling, and lends just the right amount of tang to keep things from getting too bogged down by all that rich, full fat dairy.
- Everything bagel spice – You know, the trendy AF litte bottle of crunchy, salty spices that you usually find showered upon a bagel? I love it on crackers, in this amazing pull apart bread, and now even on pasta – quaratine may be making me nutty, but who cares? If you can’t the stuff in a handy little blend, then you can also make your own, which I’ll walk you through a little further down the page.
- That’s it? Yes, THAT’S IT! If you must add an additional garnish you could perhaps count that as the fourth ingredient – I used some scallions that I grew from little roots in a jar right in my very own windowsill (I’m basically a pioneer).
Making Three Ingredient Everything Bagel Pasta
This is a pretty simple pantry pasta, but like with all simple things, there are a few tricks that will help you ensure success.
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Once it gets there, salt it heavily. No salt does NOT count as one of our three ingredients. Yes, heavily means at least a small handful – don’t worry, most of it is going down the drain. You cannot rely on a salty sauce to season a dish of pasta by the way – if the noodle itself isn’t properly seasoned from the beginning the recipe will never reach its full potential (much like me at piano lessons).
- Drop your pasta and give it a good stir. Cook until al dente. How do you know when it’s al dente? Only way to know is to pluck a piece out of the boiling cauldron, toss it back and forth like a hot potato, and give it a taste. If it’s still crunchy you’re looking at a least a couple extra minutes of cook time. Dense and chewy? I’d let it go for another 60 seconds. Pleasantly toothsome? You’re good to go!
- While the pasta cooks, plop the cream cheese into a large skillet and slowly warm it over medium-low heat. Just before you drain your noods, be sure to extract about a cup of pasta cooking liquid. Add about half of the liquid to the melty cream cheese and whisk until everything is smooth. This might take a moment or two, but it’ll get there.
- Drain your pasta and add it directly to the cream cheese mixture. Toss to combine, adding a splash more pasta water if you need to loosen things up a bit. Then sprinkle the whole thing liberally with everything bagel spice and serve it up immediately.
Why Is Everyone Always Telling Me to Save My Pasta Water?
Well, because everyone is right. But for a more detailed explanation: Pasta water is not like regular water. Pasta water is imbued with two very important things – salt and starch.
Salt is pretty obvious, unless you blacked out earlier when you salted the water pretty aggressively just before dropping your pasta. That means the water is pre-seasoned, which means that instead of diluting your dish, it only stands to enhance it – game changer.
Starch is where things get a little sciencey (just a little though, I promise). While the pasta cooks, it leaves a good amount of starch right there in the pasta water, which is why the water gets cloudy and a little foamy. The starch granules in that water when combined with something like the fat in cream cheese for instance, bond instantly, swell a little bit and create a glossy sauce that coats your pasta like a dream. And who doesn’t like creamy, dreamy noodles?
Make Your Own Everything Bagel Spice
Feeling DIY? This stuff is insanely easy to make on your own. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Black sesame seeds
- White sesame seeds
- Dehydrated onion (sometimes sold as minced dried onion)
- Dehydrated garlic (sometimes sold as minced dried garlic)
- Coarse salt (kosher is fine, flake is even better, avoid rock salt)
Everything is a one to one ratio, except the salt, which is double. So if you’re using a tablespoon it would be one tablespoon each of the seeds, onion, and garlic, and then two of the salt. If you’re using a barrel the same would apply, but like where are you going to keep all that stuff?
What Substitutions Can I Make?
Our grocery delivery got canceled last minute on Friday so I feel you when you say you don’t have what you need to make any particular recipe. With that in mind, here’s some handy swaps to CYA if you want to make this everything bagel pasta but maybe don’t have access to all the goods.
Pasta – you can use whatever you want, but you do need some pasta, so this isn’t a true swap. However you can use any variety of pasta you’d like. Dried, fresh, short, fat, long, thin, flavored, or even stuffed.
Cream cheese – You could definitely sub in some heavy cream here along with a handful of grated cheese. Sour cream and sharp cheddar would also be nice. Just make sure if you’re using any sort of lower fat dairy like yogurt or milk, that you heat it gently, and don’t let it boil. Because the lesser the fat content the more likely the sauce will curdle – which doesn’t make the dish inedible, just not so pretty.
Everything Bagel Spice – If you can’t find any and you don’t want to make your own you can totally substitute lots of flavorful, savory, and crunchy things.
In the spice world (spice up your life), you couldn’t go wrong with a blend like dukkah or za’atar. Heat things up with a combo of red pepper flake and dried oregano. Or if you want to keep things simple how about a big sprinkle of parm and a ton of fresh ground pepper?
Spice cabinet not so inspiring? Sub in some crumbled bacon, sweet caramelized onions, or buttery toasted breadcrumbs for a delicious topping. Hell, you could even use the crumbs at the bottom of the potato chip bag as a salty topping – I wouldn’t be mad. This is a pantry pasta recipe afterall, so use what’s in your pantry, yo!Print
Everything Bagel Pasta
Everything bagel pasta is a pantry staple miracle with only three ingredients! But the best part is how simple, delicious, and comforting this bowl of pasta is!
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 10 Minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 3 Servings 1x
- Category: pasta
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
1/2 lb rigatoni, or other dried pasta
3 ounces cream cheese
1–2 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning blend
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water aggressively and drop in your pasta.
While pasta cooks, melt cream cheese in a large skillet set over medium heat.
When pasta is about one minute shy of being done, pull out one cup of pasta cooking liquid. Add half of that liquid to the cream cheese and whisk until smooth.
Drain pasta and add to cream cheese mixture. Stir to coat, adding a splash more pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture and serve immediately.
Salting your pasta water aggressively is of the utmost importance, as it’s the only opportunity you get to season the noodle from the inside out. I usually use a few tablespoons of kosher salt for every 5 quarts of water.
Make your own everything bagel spice by combining equal parts sesame seeds (black and white if you can find both), poppyseeds, dried minced garlic, and dried minced onion. Then add two parts flaky or coarse salt and mix to combine.
Never drain your pasta before pulling out some of the pasta water. This stuff is liquid gold and is the secret to pretty much any successful pasta dish.
Keywords: pantry pasta, everything bagel pasta, easy comfort food, meatless meal