Need dinner on the table in 20 minutes? This Cheesy Pesto Pasta is quick and easy to make, and you can throw in any extra veggies lying in your produce drawer!
The BEST Pesto Pasta Recipe
If you’ve got a need for vegetarian or gluten-free recipes, this basil pesto pasta is a great dinner option. You can add chicken to make it a heartier dish, but it’s actually really fantastic with just grape tomatoes. Heck, you could even throw in chopped zucchini, which would also be yummy. In fact, I think I will next time.
Our favorite way to serve this pesto pasta is actually straight from the pan. I know, that doesn’t seem very classy, but the pan is sizzling hot and to bring it out and serve it straight into bowls really is so fun and it keeps everything fresh and fragrant versus putting it into a cold serving bowl.
We started with our Classic Pesto recipe. It’s our favorite and I think it’s the toasted garlic that really takes things over the top. We actually add a little more to the pasta as well. It’s ridiculous, but true. Garlicky, cheesy noodles are kind of awesome.
I don’t know how healthy pesto pasta is considering that you dump a full cup of cheese in there, but it’s certainly better for you than a lot of other pasta dishes out there. It’s fresh, simple and a really fast pasta to serve as a main dish.
What’s Needed for Basil Pesto Pasta?
This pesto sauce pasta couldn’t be any easy to make! Here’s all you’ll need to make these pesto noodles:
- Olive oil
- Angel hair pasta
- Basil pesto
- Shredded mozzarella
- Grape tomatoes
- Black pepper
How to Make Pesto Sauce Pasta
This pesto dish comes together in just 20 minutes! Here are the basic steps to mastering this recipe:
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, sauté the garlic in a little oil (just until fragrant).
- Add the cooked pasta, pesto, and tomatoes to the skillet.
- Toss with the shredded cheese and serve!
What Pasta Is Best for Pesto?
The general rule is that delicate noodles are for delicate sauces while heartier noodles are for heartier sauces. We recommend capellini pasta (aka angel hair pasta) for this basil pesto pasta recipe. Light and ethereal, these wispy strands do well with lighter, thin sauces.
Can I Make This Pesto Pasta Gluten-Free?
Yes, it’s very easy to make these pesto noodles gluten-free. Just use gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles (also known as zoodles). We love any way to use up zucchini come the summer months.
How Long Does Homemade Pesto Last?
Homemade pesto will keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Pesto Pasta Variations to Try
This pesto sauce pasta recipe is incredibly flexible and can be switched up so many ways. Here are a few pesto noodle variations to try:
- Add extra veggies
- Add diced chicken or shrimp
- Use Cilantro Pesto instead of basil pesto
- Use zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta
- Use another type of cheese
Tips for the Best Pesto Pasta
We keep this cheesy pesto pasta simple with a cup of shredded low moisture, part skim mozzarella, but you could certainly use fresh mozzarella, you just have to be mindful of the water.
Low moisture mozzarella is packaged like normal cheese and is a drier variety, whereas fresh mozzarella is packaged with the water and a little of that water is going to come out in the cooking, which with pasta can make things a bit gloopy with the pesto.
Note that this pesto pasta is quite thick and cheesy. If you’d prefer a thinner sauce, add some of the pasta cooking water to the skillet until the dish reaches your desired consistency.
More Pesto Dishes You’ll Love:
Looking for recipes using pesto? Here are a few of our favorites!
- Pesto Pepperoni and Sausage Grilled Pizza
- Sun-Dried Tomato, Bacon, & Pesto Grilled Cheese
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
- Avocado Pesto & Chicken Pasta
- Pesto Butter Veggie Foil Packs
- Grilled Veggies with Pesto
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Panini
- Pesto Garden Salad
- Pesto Meatball Panini
20-Minute Cheesy Pesto Pasta
Cheesy Pesto Pasta
- 1/2 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 clove Garlic , minced
- 1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
- 1 1/4 Cup [Pesto] (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella (we use low moisture, part skim)
- 2 Cups Grape Tomatoes , halved
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Prepare the pesto according to the recipe linked above.
- Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and garlic and stir continually until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
- Turn the skillet down to medium-low heat.
- Drain the pasta, and add quickly to the skillet along with the pesto and grape tomatoes.
- Give everything a quick toss and add the cheese, tossing the noodles with tongs.
- Serve the pasta and top with a fresh crack of black pepper.
- Gluten free pasta or zucchini noodles can be used in place of pasta.