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20-Minute Cheesy Pesto Pasta

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Need dinner on the table in 20 minutes? We've got a 20 minute cheesy pesto pasta recipe that's quick and easy to make and it's a great special diets recipe. ohsweetbasil.com

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! 

tongs pulling up portion of pesto pasta from skillet

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.

basil pesto, shredded mozzarella, pasta, and grape tomatoes in skillet

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
  • Garlic
  • Angel hair pasta
  • Basil pesto
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Black pepper

basil pesto, shredded mozzarella, pasta, and grape tomatoes in skillet

How to Make Pesto Sauce Pasta

This pesto dish comes together in just 20 minutes! Here are the basic steps to mastering this recipe: 

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. 
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic in a little oil (just until fragrant). 
  3. Add the cooked pasta, pesto, and tomatoes to the skillet. 
  4. Toss with the shredded cheese and serve! 

tongs pulling basil pesto pasta out of skillet

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.

basil pesto pasta in white bowl next to fork and water glass

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 

pesto sauce pasta garnished with tomatoes and basil in white bowl

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. 

close up of fork pulling on cheesy pesto pasta

More Pesto Dishes You’ll Love: 

Looking for recipes using pesto? Here are a few of our favorites! 

20-Minute Cheesy Pesto Pasta

Need dinner on the table in 20 minutes? We've got a 20 minute cheesy pesto pasta recipe that's quick and easy to make and it's a great special diets recipe. ohsweetbasil.com

Cheesy Pesto Pasta

4.5 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
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! 

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • Gluten free pasta or zucchini noodles can be used in place of pasta.
Pasta will keep for -3 days in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Pesto Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 278 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 182mg8%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 14g28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
 

Need dinner on the table in 20 minutes? We've got a 20 minute cheesy pesto pasta recipe that's quick and easy to make and it's a great special diets recipe. ohsweetbasil.com

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating




7 comments

  • Do you think this would work with store bought pesto (like from Costco)?

    • Reply
    • Yes absolutely!

      • Reply
  • My kids loves your recipe for pesto pasta. So easy to make, but yummy❤❤❤

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much!

      • Reply
  • this look so so good, but that nutrition information is for ONE serving of this?!

    • Reply
  • So good! We used gluten free fusilli and loved the way the pesto and cheese got all caught up in it. And those tomatoes…so sweet and perfect in the dish. It took me all of 15 minutes from start to finish, so it’s a keeper for sure. Going to make this for a family dinner this weekend so I don’t have to spend a lot of time fussing in the kitchen, but so they still get a delicious meal with a ton of flavor.

    • Reply
    • Thanks Kari! We will be busy making it as well!

      • Reply

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