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Creamy Rotel Pasta

The next time that you gather the whole family for dinner, try out my easy Rotel Pasta recipe that makes the ultimate comfort food. With a creamy cheese sauce, spicy tomatoes, and spicy sausage, this recipe is super simple and a great way to bring a large family together for dinnertime.

wood spoon with scoop of penne pasta on it

Rotel Pasta Recipe

This cheesy chicken easy pasta recipe is one of my favorite recipes because it always has my family going back for second helpings, and makes for great leftovers.

The first time I made this I was pleasantly surprised by the spicy kick, and it was a huge hit. When it comes to an easy weeknight meal, this creamy cheesy sauce is hard to beat!

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labeled picture of rotel pasta ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Pasta – For my gluten free families, substitute your favorite gluten free pasta. Save a cup of the cooking liquid to thicken the sauce.

Italian sausage – Swap with ground beef, shredded rotisserie chicken, or boneless skinless chicken breasts based on preference.

Onion – Fresh onion is best (I personally use green onions), but you can substitute with onion powder as needed.

Garlic – I recommend fresh garlic, but if that’s unavailable you can replace with minced or garlic powder.

Half and half – Replace the half and half with equal parts milk and heavy cream.

Heavy cream – Swap out for a mix of half and half with butter, or a cream soup.

Rotel – If you can’t find a can of Rotel tomatoes, you can mix diced tomatoes with lime juice, green chiles, and cilantro. 

Cream cheese – Cream cheese can be replaced with sour cream or greek yogurt.

Shredded cheese – The best way to make this recipe is with a Mexican blend, but you can use cheddar cheese, velveeta cheese, or any cheese of your choice.

Cajun seasoningSubstitute for taco seasoning if needed.

Pantry staples – Salt, black pepper, unsalted butter, all purpose flour, fresh parsley.

Looking for more comfort food? Follow LTB on Pinterest!

How To Make Rotel Pasta

First: Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and reserve pasta water. Set cooked spaghetti aside.

Second: In a large skillet over medium heat, crumble Italian sausage. Continue cooking over medium to medium-high heat until there is no pink left. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Remove excess fat from pan.

Third: Add in butter and diced onions. Cook until onions soften, before adding in minced garlic and cooking for 1-2 more minutes. Stir in flour. Cook for a minute to remove raw flour taste.

Fourth: Pour in heavy cream, half and half, and Rotel. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in spices, cream cheese, and shredded cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

Fifth: Add pasta and sausage. Stir to combine remaining ingredients. Garnish with parsley and serve.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

rotel pasta in a white cast iron skillet with parsley on top

Can I store leftover Rotel Pasta?

Yes, the leftovers from this recipe are great and can be stored for 3-4 days after the recipe is first made. Just make sure to place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. 

How do I reheat it? 

For reheating, I suggest popping the cooked pasta mixture into a casserole dish, and placing it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the dish is warm all the way through.

Cover with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning. If the spaghetti mixture is seeming a little dry when reheating, add in a cup of chicken broth or chicken stock.

For a creamier consistency, you can also use cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup.

close of up wood spoon with a scoop of pasta on it

What’s the best way to cook pasta?

For this recipe in particular, I recommend cooking your pasta in salted water until it is al dente. This ensures that it doesn’t become too soft through the process, and that leftovers will still be just as good as the original.

To do this, try cooking your spaghetti noodles for 1-2 minutes less than the package directions recommend. I’ve found pasta cooks even after taking it off the stove, so this is the best approach to make sure it stays firm.

If you want to prep this Rotel Pasta recipe ahead of time. Cook the sausage and pasta. Store them in the fridge until ready to make the skillet.

fork with three pasta noodles and some tomatoes on it

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water for maximum flavor.
  • If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with some pasta water while it’s still in the skillet.
  • Swap with chicken for a Rotel Chicken Spaghetti Recipe!
  • If you want to sneak in extra veggies, try using green bell peppers! They blend well with the Rotel tomato mixture, and you won’t even know they’re there. 
  • Not a fan of spicy? Try creating your own mild rotel mixture! This allows you to control the amount of green chilies that are in it, so you can add a little bit or a lot. 
  • Leftover chicken tastes amazing in this cheesy sauce, so I recommend trying it at least once. 

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

wood spoon with scoop of pasta and white banner with text

As one of the most popular recipes I’ve found, this Rotel Pasta dish features tender penne pasta in a creamy sauce. A great recipe for busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of extra time for cooking.

overhead picture of pasta in a skillet

Rotel Pasta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This quick and easy creamy Rotel Pasta is perfect for a busy night!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ medium onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 (10 oz) Rotel
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (cubed)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend is best but use whatever)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water for later.
  2. In a large skillet crumble the Italian sausage and cook over medium heat until no longer pink.
  3. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Remove excess fat from pan.
  4. Add the 2 tablespoons butter and diced onion. Cook until onion starts to soften. Add in minced garlic, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir and cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste. Pour in heavy cream, half and half, and both cans Rotel.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the spices, cream cheese, and shredded cheese. Cook while stirring until the cream cheese and shredded cheese is melted.
  8. Add the cooked sausage and pasta to the skillet. Stir to combine everything.
  9. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water for maximum flavor.
  • If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with some pasta water while it's still in the skillet.
  • Swap with chicken for a Rotel Chicken Spaghetti Recipe!
  • If you want to sneak in extra veggies, try using green bell peppers! They blend well with the Rotel tomato mixture, and you won’t even know they’re there. 
  • Not a fan of spicy? Try creating your own mild rotel mixture! This allows you to control the amount of green chilies that are in it, so you can add a little bit or a lot. 
  • Leftover chicken tastes amazing in this cheesy sauce, so I recommend trying it at least once. 
  • Recommended Products

    This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 811Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 1231mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 30g

    This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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