Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe

This recipe is for one of my favorite pasta dishes ever: Creamy Pesto Pasta. Our daughter requests this recipe often. I think she has good taste! It’s quick and easy to throw together in no time. Make your own fresh basil pesto or buy it already prepared. Once the pesto is made this Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe is so very quick, and perfect for any night of the week.

Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe

This pasta recipe calls for a basic fresh basil pesto. And look! There just so happens to be one right here: Basic Basil Pesto RecipeIn addition to the pesto, you’ll need extra virgin olive oil, heavy cream and a pasta of your choice.

Creamy Pesto Pasta RecipeOnce you’ve made the fresh pesto:

  • In a saute pan heat approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the pesto and mix into the oil. Be sure to stir often as the pesto warms.
  • When the pesto is warmed and just a little bubbly, slowly stream in about 1/4 c. heavy cream as you whisk lightly. If you want to add more cream, go for it. You can always add some pasta water to thin out the sauce, if needed. Here I added about 3 tablespoons.
  • Turn down the heat and continue to stir to incorporate the cream and pesto. (I use a flat bottom whisk that works very well for cream sauces and gravies.) Don’t forget to salt and pepper to taste.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce tossing to cover every nook and cranny with the fresh pesto goodness. I used a 16 oz. box of butterfly/bowtie pasta (or farfalle: far-fa-lay) which I tend to prefer for this pesto pasta dish because it grabs onto the sauce so well (plus it is so very cute!), but you may certainly use whatever tickles your fancy.

Creamy Pesto Pasta RecipeThis sauce is rich and creamy and so very tasty. Throw in some grilled chicken, shrimp or broccoli to change it up. Get creative with it.

Please note that I’m not a chef, but I play one in our home. While this process may not be what the pros do (or maybe some do) it works for me just fine, plus it’s easy. And easy is always a good thing.

Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe notes:

  • If fresh basil is not readily available for making the homemade pesto, there are a couple of pre-made options that will work well in a pinch.
  • Chicken, shrimp or broccoli can easily be added to the this recipe by cooking them in the same pan in a bit of olive oil prior to cooking the pesto sauce. Cook until done (about 6-7 minutes chicken, 3 minutes for chicken, and a few minutes for broccoli) and then remove from the pan and cover to keep warm. Add back in once the sauce has been made.

Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe
This sauce is rich and creamy and so yum. Throw in some grilled chicken, shrimp or broccoli to change it up.
Serves: Makes about 6 servings.
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add pesto and mix into the oil. Be sure to stir often as the pesto warms.
  3. When the pesto is warmed and just a little bubbly, slowly stream in the heavy cream as you stir. (You can always add more cream it you'd like.)
  4. Add some pasta water to thin out the sauce, if needed.
  5. Turn down the heat and continue to stir to incorporate the cream and pesto.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.

 (This post may contain affiliate links.)

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  1. 5

    Angie says

    Memo to self: Treat Amy’s blog like a trip to the grocery store; do NOT go there when hungry!! *wipes drool off keyboard*

  2. 11


    wow!! m drooling already. definitely gonna try this for dinner! my first visit here and m loving ye blog very much!!
    cheers and have a great weekend!!

  3. 13


    I was looking up recipes for an Italian themed potluck gettogether and came accross your recipe. It was simple, vegetarian and super delicious – everything I was looking for. Your pictures are awesome – as somebody mentioned earlier – do not visit this site when hungry – initiates drooling.

  4. 16

    Tara says

    I made this last night with basil from my garden. It was delicious, fast and easy. Thanks!!!!!!!

  5. 17

    Mary says

    This was absolutely delicious! My husband went crazy for it and he is a very picky eater! It was a definite winner for dinner!

  6. 18

    Massimo says

    Cream does not belong here and one never, but never warms up the pesto…
    Warming it up melts the grated cheese and makes it lumpy, not creamy as it should be (without the cream…).
    Again, pepper here has no business. Skip it!

    • 20


      I disagree… pesto and heavy cream make a wonderful pair. Great with pasta or in a chicken pesto lasagna (yum!). It doesn’t hurt to add in parmesan and some butter too.

  7. 21


    What is with grumpy guss Massimo? I have a feeling he would be voted off first from Iron Chef. One never says never in cooking!


  8. 22

    lynn says

    it doesn’t look lumpy to me…^_^
    i’ve made it and it was fantastic….cooking is about experimenting so never says never…coz sometimes it might just work

    btw amy, love your recipe!

  9. 24

    Brenda Purtiman says

    I made this for my boyfriend with italian breaded pork cutlets last weekend; he fell head over heels! He is still talking about it! Thank you for the great recipe!

  10. 25

    Jo says

    Ooh that looks great! Can’t wait to try it out.
    I’ve got a question though, how many does this recipe serve? I.e. how far does one cup of pesto go? Thanks, Amy!


    • 26

      Julio says

      I followed the recipe to the letter and it served 5 with seconds and even thirds for me :)

      • 27


        Hey Julio!

        Nice to meet you!

        So glad to hear your family enjoyed it. It’s one of our regular meals in our home. We enjoy it at least every other week, if not weekly.

  11. 28


    This looks so good, Amy. We always take a version of pesto pasta salad on camping trips with us and my kids practically knock each other over trying to get the first bite.

  12. 29


    I love easy recipes like this but what I can’t help but notice? You’re using MY noodles…my absolute favorite just because I think they are the cutest noodles ever! There was a day, long long ago when I might have enjoyed some toasted pine nuts on top of this. Way back before they became the price of gold. Now I’m doing more walnut pesto too…and loving it.

  13. 31

    SMITH BITES says

    doesn’t get much better than this – especially in the summer when basil is coming out my ears!!

  14. 32


    I always stock pesto in the summer (can’t get enough of it!) and I will definitely try this recipe. Love the idea of adding broccoli for some extra nutrition!

  15. 33

    Marly says

    This looks so delicious…it’s making me glad the weekend is here. Bring on the pasta!

    • 38


      Nice to meet you too, Ellie.

      I’m sorry you had trouble with the recipe. It’s a favorite here——one that my daughter requests time and time again, and I think she’s got pretty good tastes.

      Have a great day!

  16. 39

    Julio says

    Made this recipe for the family tonight and it was a great success! even my picky 8 year old who would normally not eat any foods with green in it had seconds. It was easy, economical, and delicious.

  17. 40

    Blake says

    Made this for the first time today! I’ve had quite a few culinary failures but I can definately add this to the success list. I added store bought rotisserie chicken and it was soooo good.

  18. 43

    Poppy says

    I am so happy I found this recipie!!! It is perfect…Nice and easy (Some of the other pesto pastas are so complicated it makes me head hurt!) and feds the extremely fussy eaters in my household.
    Thanks for sharing it!

  19. 44

    Pauline says

    I’ve been making my own pesto for years but never tried to use it like in this recipe.So glad I found this practical one.

  20. 47

    marigold says

    Instead of using whole cream and adding water, I just used 1/3 c + a splash of half and half and it was excellent.
    The logic is that half and half is half cream and half milk.

  21. 48

    Ronald says

    Love this Recipe. I had dinner in Greenville NC and this is exactly the way they prepared it. It was so awesome. I had to look up the recipe when I got home and found yours. Thanks for sharing

  22. 49

    Allie says

    Thank you so much for this recipe, it was a hit and I will make it again! Thank you for all the blood, sweat and tears you put into this blog for people you may never meet. Bless you!! – Allie :)

  23. 50

    Joanne Kathleen R. says

    Yes, that’s delicious. Can’t wait to try it in my kitchen. Yum yum!

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