Joanna Gaines’ Bow Tie Pasta Is So Good, It’s Now My Family’s Most-Requested Dinner

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Bow tie pasta salad in wood bowl with kitchen towel underneath
Credit: Kris Osborne

As a working mom with two small kids, weeknights are busy. And when my kids get home from school and day care, they would be thrilled to have eaten dinner 15 minutes ago. As a result, I’m always looking for delicious, easy, and quick weeknight meals. So when the popular Joanna Gaines’ Bow Tie Pasta with Baby Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes popped onto my radar, with reviewers online boasting a quick start-to-finish turnaround time, I was intrigued. And spoiler alert: It totally delivered on all fronts. I couldn’t believe how fast the pasta came together. From pulling out the ingredients to sitting down to eat, it was ready in under 20 minutes. 

Credit: Kris Osborne

How to Make Joanna Gaines’ Bow Tie Pasta with Baby Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The process is simple and uses many pantry-friendly, ready-to-go ingredients. You start by boiling the water for the pasta, and once the noodles are cooking, begin your sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and lightly sauté two grated garlic cloves in olive oil.

Once it’s fragrant, stir in some heavy cream and cubes of cream cheese. Continue stirring regularly until the cream cheese is incorporated, then add in the grated Parmesan to boost the flavor and finish off the luscious sauce.

Finish it with some drained, marinated, sun-dried tomatoes, quartered artichoke hearts, and a generous five cups of baby kale for a vibrant medley of colors and textures. Lastly, stir in the drained pasta and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. In just 20 minutes, this flavor-packed pasta is ready! Gaines suggests topping individual servings with toasted walnuts and fresh chives, which you can do at the table. 

Credit: Kris Osborne

My Honest Review

Even though my 7-year-old pulled all the artichokes out of the sauce (she says they give her a headache), she rated this dish a 10 out of 10. The sauce is one of the creamiest, velvety pasta sauces I’ve ever had. It coats every bite of pasta with a lush cheesiness while still allowing the veggies to shine through. The sun-dried tomatoes add gorgeous pops of sweet-tart brightness, and the artichokes an earthiness. I served it with extra chives but skipped the walnut entirely because my daughter has a severe allergy. If we wanted that added crunch, we could have easily swapped in toasted sliced almonds or hazelnuts.

I have never used cream cheese as a base in a sauce before, so I was skeptical. But I love how it helped to add that luxurious mouthfeel without the work of making a full béchamel. It was incredibly rich, though. I used half milk and half heavy cream to cut some of the richness, which was still quite indulgent. I really enjoyed it, but I’d consider using milk entirely or cutting some of the cream with chicken stock next time. The greens were tender and so well incorporated into the sauce that my kiddos also gobbled it up without a peep. Leftovers warmed up beautifully the next day, too. And because it was such a heavy meal, there was a lot left over. My daughter even took it to school for lunch (sans artichokes, which I meticulously pulled out).

If I were to make it again, I would definitely add some sautéed or grilled chicken for some protein (the chicken from this recipe would be great), or even some chickpeas or white beans if I needed to keep it vegetarian. Though I can’t see it going into my regular rotation, I’ll keep it as a dinner party dish or a back-pocket recipe for the nights when I need an emergency meal quickly. Most of the ingredients are pantry-friendly, and cream cheese keeps in the fridge for a long time, so it would be easy and handy to lean into if needed.

Tips and Variations for Making Joanna Gaines’ Bow Tie Pasta

  • Have your ingredients ready to go. Everything comes together very quickly, so cube your cream cheese and cut your tomatoes and artichokes while your pasta water is boiling. This will ensure a 20-minute dinner and pasta that’s served hot and creamy as soon as it’s ready. 
  • Parmesan is great, but using real Parmigiano Reggiano will make a world of difference in the finished sauce. 
  • Feel free to substitute canned (drained) or frozen artichokes for the marinated vegetables to reduce the oil or for a more fresh, artichoke-forward dish. 
  • For added brightness to contrast the rich cream and cheese, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and grated lemon zest into the sauce or finish with finely sliced, fresh basil.
  • Sub another green in place of the kale. We used spinach because baby kale wasn’t available, but swiss chard or arugula would also be a great addition.
  • If you’re not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes, you can roast your own. It’s really easy and can be prepared several days in advance. 

Whether you need a fast weeknight dinner or an impressive dish for guests, this pasta is a clear winner. I can’t get over how quickly it comes together for such a robustly flavored, veggie-packed meal.