This cheesy brie pasta recipe has crispy pancetta, fresh spinach, garlic, and a hint of lemon. It's so quick and easy to make!
You'll also love my Ridiculously Easy Boursin Pasta or this Tomato Goat Cheese Pasta, which both use the same incredibly simple cooking technique.
Why you'll love it
Is there anything better than a meal that looks fancy but takes hardly any effort!? The brie cheese sauce beautifully coats the pasta shells and perfectly contrasts the pancetta. You'll be thrilled to discover how to eat brie in a new way! Mind blown.
This brie sauce for pasta is rich and creamy but without adding any cream. The combination of the easy-melting brie and hot, starchy pasta water makes a lovely sauce. Genius, right? There's no need to bake brie in this recipe.
You only need a few ingredients for it
- Pasta - I chose shells, but any shape you have will be fine
- Pancetta - pancetta is a cured Italian bacon if you're unfamiliar with it. I buy the pancetta pre-diced rather than in thin slices like it's sometimes sold.
- Garlic - we've got three cloves of garlic in this pasta to take the flavor over the top
- Brie - the key to the sauce. Brie tastes mellow, very buttery and creamy, and a little bit nutty.
- Lemon juice - adds a little bit of acidity and brightness
- Spinach - a healthy pop of freshness and color. Spinach and pancetta are a tried and true combination
How to make brie pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve some of the pasta water prior to draining it.
- Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a skillet until crispy, and then add in the garlic, followed by the brie, lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup of the hot starchy water.
- Toss until the sauce is smooth, then add in the spinach and drained pasta and toss again, adding more pasta water if needed. Season with salt & pepper and enjoy!
Tips for success
- Brie rind is edible, but it won't melt as easily into the sauce, so that's why I recommend cutting the rind off. You don't need to do this perfectly. I simply use a sharp knife to slice most of it off.
- This recipe is very simple to make, but I would just ensure you don't add too much of the hot starchy water to the sauce at once or it won't be as thick/creamy. You can always add more as needed, so pour it in carefully!
- This sauce is quite forgiving, so if you have a bit more/less brie or pancetta, don't worry too much about exact quantities.
Substitutions and variations
- You may sub the pancetta for a few slices of thick-cut bacon if you're unable to find it at your grocery store.
- You could definitely throw in extra herbs if you have some. Chives or basil would work well!
What to serve with this pasta
- Try a side salad for a lighter pairing. It would go great with this Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad, or try this Arugula Salad with Fennel and Cheese for a fancier option!
- A slice of crusty bread is another great idea, or go all out and make some Homemade Garlic Bread.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this pasta will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in a covered container, but it does taste best fresh.
- Reheat over a low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through.
- I don't recommend freezing this one.
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Questions about this brie pasta recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces brie rind removed, cut into small pieces (see note)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. Important: you will need to reserve some of the pasta water, so don't drain it before step 3 of the recipe.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet, fry the pancetta over medium-high heat until crispy (about 8-10 minutes). Leave the fat in the pan.
- Reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water (you won't use it all) prior to draining the pasta.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic to the skillet. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the brie to the skillet, along with the lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water. Toss, using two spoons, until the brie has melted and you've got a nice sauce.
- Take the skillet off the heat and add the spinach and drained pasta. Toss until the spinach has wilted. You may need to add another splash of the hot pasta water if you find it needs a little more liquid.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.
- Brie rind is edible, but it won't melt as easily into the sauce, so that's why I recommend cutting the rind off. You don't need to do this perfectly... I simply use a sharp knife to slice most of it off. I recommend removing the rind and then cutting it into pieces (1/2-1" is fine).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Chris Gibbins says
This did not work for me! My (French) Brie refused to melt down into a sauce and stayed in little granular lumps. Tasted OK but wasn’t pretty to look at! I wonder what cheese it was that you used. Real Brie (French) is a disk about 15 inches in diameter, much larger than what is shown in your photo, which looks more like a Camembert, which might melt more easily. Incidentally, I’ve made similar dishes to this using dolcelatte, which does melt, and it was very good. But using Brie, no, no, no!
Hi Chris! Sorry it didn't work out for you. 🙁 I haven't heard this complaint before, and I have received plenty of feedback when I re-share this recipe on social media. I can't recall the exact brand of brie that was bought for this recipe, but I can assure you that it was labeled as brie. Of course, living in Canada, there's a chance it wasn't totally authentic. There's tons of brie recipes out there where it melts beautifully (like all those baked brie ones), so I am not sure what happened in your case. Very odd indeed.
This was ok but I did a few things to liven it up to make it wow with very little time added. I added grape/cherry tomatoes halved (makes the color spectacular!), chopped sweet onions, white wine and mustard to deepen the flavors. So, I cooked the onion and garlic in the pancetta fat and added either some Grey Poupon or ground yellow mustard and then deglaze with some dry white wine. I also use Jane's Crazy mixed up salt and pepper for added flavor. The tomatoes really add flavor and a beautiful pop of color. I also thought about adding red bell pepper instead of tomatoes so maybe I'll try that next time!
julie chan says
This was delicious and super easy to make! I never knew I could use brie this way. My whole family loved it. I will be making it again - thank you for a great, easy recipe!
That's great to hear, Julie!! Thanks for your review!!
Made this recently and we loved it! It was so easy and so quick and the perfect recipe to quickly rustle up a fancy meal (with minimal effort) after the busy day I had.
My husband was worried it would be a little too cheesy and rich, but the pasta water and lemon really helped balance it out. I also sprinkled a little of Maldon smoked sea salt flakes over it and it was really awesome.
This dish will definitely make it into our monthly rotation of dinners. 🙂
I'm so happy to hear it was a hit!! Thanks so much for your kind review, Jenni! 🙂
My friends are all already passing around this recipe. ☺️
This was ok. It didn’t have too much flavor, and I wish I would have added in more seasoning. It was easy to make, however.