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Calabrian Pepper Pasta

Inspired by the coast of Southern Italy, this Calabrian Pepper Pasta recipe brings Mediterranean heat. Spicy Calabrian chili paste is balanced by a dreamy fontina and Parm sauce flavored by earthy basil and crisp chives. All cradled in delightful pockets of medium shells pasta.

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Your favorite comfort food, with a kick. Hotter than a jalapeno, sweeter than a chili pepper, Calabrian Pepper pasta offers a just-right spice. Savory onion and garlic are simmered in a fontina-Parm cream sauce, cooling down the heat while deepening the umami flavor. Enjoy!

  • 16 oz Ronzoni® Medium Shells
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
  • ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • 2 Tbsp Calabrian chili paste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
Skill LevelIntermediate
Prep Time10 Min
Cook Time25 Min


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water. 
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. 
  3. Sprinkle in flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. 
  4. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue to whisk and bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. 
  6. Reduce heat to low. Stir in fontina and ⅓ cup Parmesan until melted. Stir in chili paste. 
  7. Add pasta water in ¼ cup increments as needed until pasta is thoroughly coated and warmed through.
  8. Garnish with basil and chives, tossing until combined.

Pro Tip

Want to add some protein? Sauté ½ cup diced Italian-style salami in olive oil for a few minutes until lightly golden and stir into Mac and Cheese.