This delicious Pesto Cavatappi is rich, creamy and packed with bold flavors! It’s a super easy pasta recipe that’s ready in less than 30 mins. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Copycat Pesto Cavatappi
This creamy pesto cavatappi recipe is quick to make, and just so delicious!
Cavatappi is corkscrew shaped pasta, perfect for scooping up the divinely creamy pesto sauce. It’s such a quick and easy dinner! This delicious dish is a hearty meat free meal which both kids and adults will love!
Looking for more pasta recipes? Why not also try my Italian Stuffed Shells or my Vegetarian Lasagna
Why You’ll Love this Pesto Pasta Recipe:
- Kid Friendly: With its curly whirly pasta shapes and flavorful sauce, this scrumptious pasta dish will be a hit with the little ones.
- Easy Pasta Recipe: This dish only needs a handful of kitchen staples and comes together in less than 30 mins.
- Vegetarian: This meatless pasta dish can be loaded up with veggies or kept simple – either way it’s super satisfying and so delicious!
You’ll be blown away by the big flavors of this pesto cavatappi, made from just a few simple ingredients!
How to Make Pesto Cavatappi
You can jump to the recipe card for full ingredients & instructions!
- Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, mix your creamy pesto sauce in a skillet.
- Add pasta and toss to coat.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese and basil.
Classic pesto cavatappi from Noodles & Company is made with cavatappi noodles, but you can certainly use your favorite kind of noodle or whatever you have on hand.
Definitely! For a healthier alternative, use zucchini noodles. Add them to the sauce in step 6. Mix together and heat until warmed through.
Any store bought or homemade pesto works great. I love this homemade pesto recipe – it adds so much fresh flavor!
Yes! I love serving this pesto pasta with chicken or shrimp. Add your cooked protein of choice to the pan in step 6. Mix to combine with the pasta and heat until warmed through.
This is a great meal on its own but you can always add tasty sides for a bigger feast! Here are some favorites:
- Olive Garden Salad with Copycat Dressing
- Zesty Panzanella Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
- Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Rosemary Focaccia
You are going to love this cavatappi pasta recipe, only 8 ingredients!
- Wait until the water comes to a rapid boil before adding your pasta. Placing pasta too early can make your pasta gummy and sticky!
- You want the pasta to feel firm and slightly springy when you bite into it. If it sticks to your teeth while chewing, it isn’t ready yet.
- Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This pesto cavatappi is a super satisfying meal to whip up after a hectic day – so easy!
How can I make this pasta recipe gluten free?
Use 1 pound of your favorite kind of gluten free noodles and make sure the pesto you choose is certified gluten free.
Can I add tomatoes or other vegetables?
Absolutely! Add sun-dried tomatoes in step 2 or mix in halved cherry or grape tomatoes right before serving. Sliced mushrooms are also a delicious addition – add to the pan in step 2.
Can I make this without the cream?
Yes you can! It will of course not be as creamy, but still delicious. Simply reserve an extra half cup of pasta water and pour into the skillet when mixing your pesto and pasta.
More Italian Dinner Recipes We Love
It takes less than 30 mins to whip up this delectable and satisfying pesto cavatappi. It’s a sure fire crowd pleaser that’s packs a flavorful punch!
More Easy Pasta Recipes to Try:
- Easy Chicken Tetrazzini
- Pesto Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
- Crockpot Lasagna
- Lemon Asparagus Pasta
- St. Louis Style Toasted Ravioli
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Baked Feta Pasta
If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy! You can also jump to recipe.
PS I would FRESHLY grate lots more parm….. The microplane tools are awesome for this!
And, in case the awesome Becky didn’t tell you, never salt your water until it reaches a full rolling boil. That way it won’t pit/damage your pots,
Apot also takes longer to boil, in my experience, with salt added, because it’s something that has to be broken down /dissolved, before the water is “pure” enough to boil!
Have a safe, very happy New Year’s Eve, AND, more importantly, a healthy, happy and blessed New Year, the whole year through! God bless you!
Hi, it looks great! However, with the butter AND the cream, this couldn’t be a regular dinner, more of a treat!
I have several suggestions for your readers, so they can have it once a week :
1. Instead of ALL butter, swap out half for olive oil. That way, there’s still a buttery flavour, but healthier calories (omega 3, etc). I might also cut the total amount in half.
2. Instead of cream., use Water from the pasta pot, once the noodles are done cooking. This starchy water is often used by chefs to make a pasta sauce! I see it all the time on the Food Network!
You can use
Some dairy, but maybe whole fat milk, or half n half, instead of heavy cream.
You may find that once you add the pasta water, and a little more pesto, you won’t need the cream at all!
Thanks for sharing what worked for you, Antonia!