Pasta with sauce

Tarragon Pasta Recipe

Read the article here.

Tarragon Cream Sauce


1 tbsp Olive Oil

Mise-en-place – Tarragon, garlic, and shallots

1 tbsp Unsalted butter

1 Shallot – minced

1 clove Garlic – minced

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

2 tsp dried Thyme

1/2 cup White Wine

2 cups Heavy Cream

1 cup Whole Milk

1x Bunch Tarragon (pull the leaves off of the stem)

Parmigiano-reggiano (grated)

(Get your pasta water going.  This sauce takes about 10-15 mins to prepare so you will want your pasta ready about the same time as the sauce.)


Shallots, garlic, thyme in

Shallots, garlic, and thyme have been added to the pan

Heat the pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and butter.  Toss in the shallots and garlic.  Let the shallots clarify.  Add the thyme, salt, and pepper.  This will be fairly thick, and you want to stir things rapidly.  Add the wine to deglaze.  Stir.  A lot.


Wine going in. Stir!






Next, add the cream and milk.  Stir.  You will want to taste the sauce at this point to check the salt and pepper concentrations

Cream and milk added

Cream and milk added.

and adjust to your preferences.  Keep in mind, you will be adding parm at the end – typically a salty cheese – so do not overdo it.

The sauce will begin to boil as it comes up to temperature. Never fear, you want this! (*See notes.) Now is the time when you will add in your tarragon and stir to incorporate.

Tarragon input

Tarragon going in!

It should get very fragrant at this point. Enjoy!

Turn the heat off, and grate your parmigiano into the sauce.  Taste.

To finish, you will toss your pasta with the sauce and some more parmigiano.  Use some of your pasta water (ALWAYS save your pasta water!) to thin things out if things seem too thick.


Sauce simmering

Sauce simmering before cheese and pasta are added.

Pasta with sauce

Sauced and eat to eat!


*What you are looking for is called nappe,


a fancy french term meaning the sauce

will coat the back of a spoon.

I generally serve this with a nice hunk of my garlic & cheese bread.

See the article about this post for some protein variations I recommend.

I usually make this in the my wife got me for Christmas a few years ago.  It works great, and I can add my pasta to the pan and finish the dish without having to dirty something else up.

Pasta with sauce

Tarragon Pasta


Pasta with sauce

Sauced and eat to eat!

Get the recipe here

There are plenty of evenings where you need to whip up something in a hurry.  Sometimes you have to sacrifice flavor for speed.  This is not one of those types of recipes.  This one gives you the best of both worlds – it’s fast as well as delicous.  And did I mention, flexible?  I call it my Tarragon Pasta.

This recipe comes from my college days.  I wanted a dish that I could play with, was cheap, and flavorful.  I also wanted to try something that would let me experiment with herbs, cream, and wine.  The sauce itself is fairly basic – cream, spices, fresh tarragon, and some wine if you have it handy.  Add some pasta, and you have a quick dinner that you will enjoy immensely.  Add some sausage, chicken, or shrimp and you have something to be proud of.  And the basic version is easy to make in less than fifteen minutes.  You can have the sauce ready before your pasta water even comes to a boil if you start them at the same time!

I apologise for the addictiveness of this recipe.  Once you have made it once, you will find yourself craving it again a week or two later.  If you like tarragon at all, or are looking for a chance to try the herb then this is the dish for you.


My wife loves this dish with chicken.  When I make that variation, I generally pan sear the chicken and just slice it over the top of the pasta.  I have also cooked the chicken with cajun blackened seasoning with very enjoyable results.  As with all my recipes, I recommend you go with what you like!

Personally, my favorite variation involves using italian sausage.  I take a bit of sweet italian sausage and cook it in a skillet.  Then I remove the sausage from the pan and allow it to drain.  When the tarragon cream is thickened, I add the sausage back into the sauce with some finely chopped spinach and toss everything together.  My children love this version.  They happily devour every bite.  Part of this is my children’s absolute love of sausage.  Also, the tarragon and sausage mask the spinach – a boon to any parent trying to get healthy green veggies into their little one.

At some point, I would love to try this dish with shrimp.  I think I would cook the shrimp in butter with garlic and maybe some parmesan.  Nothing fancy, just delicious.  Then I would put the shrimp over the top of the pasta.

Pasta Choices:

I have made this dish with spaghetti, fettucini, bowties, and ziti.  The sauce is fairly thick and clinging so it will stick nicely to longer noodles.  You could probably get away with using gnocchi as well.  When I make the sausage version mentioned above, I generally go with the bowties.  The kids love them, and we don’t have to slice them into smaller portions for the boys.

Wine and Pairing:

Personally, I like this recipe better with wine.  I like to use it in the dish itself, and I particularly enjoy drinking a glass of wine while I enjoy the pasta.  I recommend a nice Riesling or a Pinot Grigio.