Think of this Green Spaghetti as like a spicy poblano alfredo pasta. My friend Sara, a Texas native, taught me how to make this typical Texan dish. It’s comfort food with equal parts creaminess, kick and flavor.
One of the best parts about food is getting to taste things you’ve never had before. And until I met my friend Sara in 2010, I had never even heard of Green Spaghetti, let alone tasted it.
For those who haven’t tried this before, to me it’s sort of like a spicy alfredo pasta, but instead of cheese, the main flavors come from roasted poblano chiles and fresh cilantro. The dairy helps soften the heat and spice from the peppers.
I’ve made and tweaked this recipe from time to time ever since Sara taught me to make it, basically anytime I can find some good-looking poblano peppers at the grocery.
With that said, know that poblano peppers aren’t always available, and this is an ingredient that can’t really be substituted.
Recently when I set out to re-photograph this post after first publishing it in 2012, I gathered all the ingredients in the store and then came to the produce section, only to realize there were no poblano peppers (and after calling a few other grocery stores in the area, they were also out).
Obviously I ended up getting some later, but know that this is largely dependent on the poblano peppers. They have a unique flavor that is essential for this dish! I wouldn’t recommend, for instance, making this with green bell peppers instead.
How to Make Green Spaghetti:
Wash four poblano peppers and place them on a sheet pan:
I’ll warn you now, poblano peppers are pretty hot. Make this dish only if you’re a fan of chiles and spiciness.
Now we want to blacken and blister the peppers. If you have a gas grill, you can roast them directly on the grates, turning them as the peppers collapse and blister.
I don’t have a gas stove, so I use the oven broiler instead.
You’ll need to turn them over at least once during cooking, to make sure they’re completely blackened. You can see how the pepper is completely collapsed, as I can squish it with my tongs:
Place the poblano peppers in a bowl, and cover TIGHTLY with plastic wrap.
You really want to trap the steam in, which you can see here:
Peel the blackened skin from the chiles (I recommend wearing disposable gloves affiliate), and also remove the seeds, stems, and any visible ribs. Be thorough about it, because believe me, even without these parts, the poblanos are spicy. Removing the seeds and any visible ribs really cuts down on the heat.
Place the peeled poblanos in a blender, along with garlic, cream cheese, and chicken stock:
Next add fresh cilantro (I do the stems and leaves), heavy whipping cream, and salt:
Blend it all up until smooth.
Finally, cook some spaghetti according to package directions, then toss with a few pats of butter:
Pour the cilantro poblano sauce all over the buttered noodles:
Toss well to combine, and keep in mind that even if it seems like too much liquid at first, the pasta will soak it up as it sits and the sauce will get thicker.
Plate and garnish with extra cilantro tossed in and on top:
More Cilantro and Pepper Recipes:
- 1 lb poblano peppers (I had 4)
- 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped (I had 2 tbsp)
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 bunch cilantro (weighed 3 oz), plus extra for garnish*
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 1/4 cup butter cut into pats (salted butter is slightly better, but unsalted okay too)
- If you have a gas stove, place the poblanos directly over the flame until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a gas stove, place them on a sheet tray under the broiler, turning for even blackening. This should also take about 10 minutes, depending on broiler strength. Note: turn the kitchen fan on. The air will get "spicy" from this process.
- Place the blackened chiles in a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes. The plastic should get steamy.
- Peel the blackened skin off the chiles, and remove the seeds, stems, and any visible ribs. This is important for cutting down on the heat.
- Add the peeled chiles to a blender, along with the garlic, cream cheese, and chicken stock. Blend until smooth.
- Add the cilantro, heavy cream, and 1 tsp of salt, and blend again. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary. Sometimes I add a little more salt. It's important it's well-seasoned.
- Cook the pasta in salted water (it should taste like the ocean) according to package directions until al dente. Drain the noodles and toss with the pats of butter, until the butter has melted and coats the noodles.
- Add the sauce, and toss well. The sauce will thicken slightly as the noodles absorb the liquid. Garnish with extra cilantro if desired, then serve.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in December 2020. Originally published January 2012.