This creamy pesto pasta recipe is perfect for turning simple ingredients into a quick and delicious pasta dish! It features a luxuriously creamy basil pesto sauce, chewy pasta, and fresh vegetables. Serve it with fresh basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner!
Pasta recipes are perfect for whipping up a quick and easy dinner that satisfies the need for something savory and delicious after a busy day. My pesto gnocchi recipe is one of the most popular recipes on this blog, so I thought that I’d share another pesto pasta recipe that I’m sure you’ll love!
This creamy pesto pasta is comforting, flavorful, and incredibly easy to make. The best part is that it can be easily customized and served in different ways to make it suit your personal taste. It's a true lifesaver on busy days, packed with flavor that will surely impress!
Creamy Pesto Pasta Ingredients
To make this creamy pesto pasta, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Pasta: Most types of pasta will work well in this recipe. I’d recommend using a long shape of pasta, such as linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti.
- Vegetables: This recipe uses cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and baby spinach as they perfectly complement the creamy pesto sauce. But you can use other vegetables or add more if you want.
- Garlic: Garlic gives this dish a flavor boost.
- Basil pesto: You can use homemade or store-bought pesto for this recipe. If you want to make your own pesto, you can use the recipe in my pesto gnocchi recipe. Homemade pesto will most of the time be more flavorful and delicious, but the store-bought version is great for a very low-effort dinner.
- Heavy cream: Heavy cream is used to make the pasta sauce creamy and delicious.
- Lemon: Lemon juice balances and brightens the flavor of this pasta dish. It’s one of my go-to additions when I use basil pesto as it perfectly complements its flavor.
- Parmesan and fresh basil (optional): Parmesan and fresh basil are optional, but I’d highly recommend using them! They add a lot of flavor and make this dish taste even better.
How to make creamy basil pesto
Cook the pasta. First, cook the pasta in a pot filled with salted boiling water until al dente. Save some pasta water, drain, and set aside.
Sauté the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Preheat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Then sauté the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes until they brown and the tomatoes blister. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the aromatics. Now add the garlic and sauté everything over medium-low heat until fragrant.
Combine. Next, add the heavy cream and pasta water to deglaze the pan. Add the pasta, baby spinach, and basil pesto. Toss until everything is combined. Add more pasta if needed.
Finish and serve. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and toss. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- If you have some extra time, feel free to make fresh basil pesto. This dish will turn out great either way, but fresh pesto tends to taste more intense and delicious. So if you can, I’d recommend using homemade basil pesto.
- Let the vegetables brown when you sauté them. They brown best when you don’t move them too much. So just give them an occasional toss to make sure that nothing burns.
- Adjust the sauce to taste. Depending on your personal preferences, you may want to use more heavy cream, basil pesto, or pasta water. Pasta water is used to thicken the sauce and make it cling to the pasta. Use as much as you need.
- Switch up the vegetables you use. I love the combination of vegetables in this creamy pesto pasta recipe, but you can definitely change them to make this recipe suit your taste!
- Use another type of pesto. This recipe works great with all kinds of pesto! You could use arugula pesto, spinach pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto, and so many other types of pesto. It’s a great way to switch up the flavor of this dish!
How to serve creamy basil pesto pasta
- Add some protein to your meal. My all-time favorite is shrimp, but chicken and salmon are other delicious options!
- Serve a side salad alongside this creamy basil pesto pasta. There are many different salads that would go well with this dish. My personal favorite is a simple arugula salad tossed with some olive oil and lemon juice.
- Serve this dish with fresh basil leaves and parmesan cheese. These two ingredients taste great with a variety of pasta dishes. So feel free to add some to this creamy pesto pasta! 😊
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! If you don’t have the extra time to make a pesto, don’t worry about it. This recipe tastes really great with store-bought pesto. Just pick your favorite and use it for this recipe. And if you find the time to make pesto at home, feel free to use it!
I recommend using a long shape of pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine. I also like the type of pasta that is wide so that the sauce can cling to the surface of the pasta. But most types of pasta will taste great with this dish, so feel free to pick the one you like most!
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. I recommend adding a little bit of liquid when you reheat your leftovers to make the sauce creamy.
More simple and delicious pasta recipes
If you love to make pasta dishes for dinner, I highly recommend trying one of the following recipes!
Creamy Pesto Pasta
- 6 ounces pasta such as linguine, tagliatelle, fettuccine, spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil more if needed
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream more if desired
- ¼ cup pasta water more as needed to thicken the sauce
- 1 ½ cup baby spinach coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup basil pesto homemade or store-bought
- lemon juice to taste
- parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves (optional)
- First, cook the pasta in a pot filled with salted boiling water until al dente. Save about 1 cup of pasta water and then drain.6 ounces pasta
- Preheat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms to the pan and sauté until they are browned. Be sure to not move them too much so that the tomatoes can blister and the mushrooms can brown. Then season with salt and pepper.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, 2 cups sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper
- Now add the garlic clove and sauté everything over medium-low heat until fragrant.1 garlic clove
- Add the heavy cream and pasta water to deglaze the pan. Then add the pasta, baby spinach, and basil pesto. Toss until the sauce clings to the pasta. Add more pasta water if needed.3 tablespoons heavy cream, ¼ cup pasta water, ¼ cup basil pesto, 1 ½ cup baby spinach
- Squeeze in some lemon juice and toss. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!lemon juice, parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves (optional)
- If you want to use homemade basil pesto, feel free to use the one in my pesto gnocchi recipe.