Make this 20 Minute Creamy Pesto Pasta that features a luscious pesto sauce! With the flavors of basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan, this pasta dish will make you feel like you’re dining right in Italy.
Easy to make, this dinner will help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time twirling your fork like a spaghetti pro! Grab an apron and get ready to enjoy this creamy and comforting pesto spaghetti dinner!
💚 Why You'll Love This Recipe
Indulge in a mouthwatering and time-saving culinary delight and make this pasta with creamy pesto sauce. Simple and fast, this dish is perfect for those busy weeknights when you crave a delicious and satisfying meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
This pasta dinner combines your pasta of choice with a luscious and velvety sauce made from rich basil pesto and heavy cream. The result is a delicious blend of savory and nutty flavors that will be a hit with the whole family.
You could even make this dish with a batch of homemade Broccoli Pesto!
🧂 Ingredients Needed
- pasta - something like fettucine, linguine, or spaghetti works best for this recipe, but pair any kind of pasta with this creamy pesto sauce.
- butter - helps form a delicious sauce with a distinct buttery flavor.
- flour - thickens the creamy pesto sauce.
- heavy cream - gives your sauce a luxurious and smooth texture.
- pesto - provides delicious flavor that pairs perfectly with pasta.
- Cook your pasta to al dente according to package directions and save ¼ cup of your pasta water before draining.
- Melt butter in a large skillet and whisk in flour.
- Pour in the whipping cream and mix to combine.
- Lower heat and whisk until thickened.
- Turn off heat and add pesto to the sauce.
- Slowly add in reserved pasta water, little by little, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- Add cooked pasta to the sauce.
- Toss until well combined. Add more pasta water if needed to coat all of the noodles.
The typical ingredients in pesto include basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, Parmesan, and olive oil to bring it all together.
If you've purchased your pesto from the store, you can add some additional Parmesan or fresh basil leaves to the sauce to give it a more fresh flavor.
Parmesan cheese is a classic choice as it's one of the ingredients in the sauce itself. If you want to add other kinds of cheese, go for white cheddar, Gruyère, gouda, or provolone.
💭 Expert Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to use a large pot of water to cook your pasta to prevent sticking.
- Using reserved pasta water in your sauce is a great way to make it more rich and smooth thanks to the pasta starch. If you salt the water first, it also provides salty flavor.
- Regular water can be substituted for pasta water if you forget to save some before draining. You can also combine some hot water with cornstarch and salt for a similar result.
- Combine the flour with the melted butter before adding the cream. This prevents lumps.
- A whisk will help prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan.
- Be aware that the sauce will thicken a bit more as it cools, so keep this in mind while simmering.
- Combine the pasta with the sauce just before serving to prevent the pasta from getting soggy. Cook the pasta just to al dente to help with this as well.
📌 Pair these delicious creamy pesto sauce with any kind of pasta for a quick and satisfying meal that the whole family will love!
💡 Substitutions and Variations
- Add some black pepper to your sauce for extra flavor. It will already contain some salt from the pasta water, so don't overseason.
- Use your favorite kind of noodles with this pesto sauce. Linguine, spaghetti, and fettucine are great options, but feel free to use rotini, cavatappi, or whatever you and your family like.
- Garnish with fresh basil and/or parsley, Parmesan cheese, or some toasted pine nuts to capitalize on the flavors of the pesto.
🥫 Storage and Reheating
Keep this pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can easily reheat your pasta in the microwave when it comes time to eat it again.
Pesto pasta doesn't freeze all that well, so I don't recommend storing it that way.
🍴 What To Serve With This Dish
For a delicious and filling side, serve your pesto pasta with Air Fryer Baby Potatoes, or even continue the pesto theme with Roasted Pesto Potatoes. Another simple and healthy side is this Air Fryer Broccoli, and if you want a lighter meal, pair with a Cucumber Salad!
✔️ More Pasta Recipes You'll Love
- Chicken Pesto Pasta with Broccoli - Can't get enough of pesto and pasta? This dish also includes chicken for protein and nutritious broccoli!
- One Pot Zucchini Mushroom Pasta - You'll love how easy it is to put together this one pot pasta dinner.
- Ground Turkey Pasta Broccoli Dinner - Everything you need for a healthy and satisfying dinner is included in this one recipe.
- Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs - This recipe from Bowl Me Over makes a comforting and super savory dish that's great for a weekend meal!
Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce
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📋 Recipe Card
20 Minute Creamy Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound noodles like linguine or fettuccine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup prepared pesto
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Save ¼ cup pasta water before draining.1 pound noodles like linguine or fettuccine
- While noodles are cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and whisk to combine.2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Slowly pour in 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, whisking to combine.1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- Reduce heat to mid-low and continue whisking. Simmer for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, remove from heat and mix in pesto and stir to combine.½ cup prepared pesto
- Add ¼ cup pasta water, a little at a time, for a silkier texture and to thin the sauce as needed. Give it a taste and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
- Toss with cooked noodles.
- Use a large pot of boiling water to cook your pasta. This will help to prevent the pasta from sticking together and ensure that it cooks evenly.
- Salt your pasta water with at least a tablespoon of kosher salt to enhance the flavor.
- Pasta water is better than plain water to thin out the sauce if needed, but if you forgot to save some before draining the pasta, don't panic. You can substitute regular water.
- Whisk the flour into the butter before adding the cream to prevent lumps from forming in the sauce.
- Use a whisk to stir the sauce while it’s cooking to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Simmer the sauce until it thickens to your desired consistency. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken further as it cools.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Keep in mind that the pesto sauce will already contain salt, so be careful not to over-season.
- Mix the pasta and sauce together just before serving. This will help to ensure that the pasta doesn’t become too soft and mushy.
- Garnish with fresh herbs, grated Parmesan cheese, or toasted pine nuts to add extra flavor and texture to the dish.
Nutritional information is an estimate. The nutritional values for your final dish may vary based on measuring differences and products used.