30 Minute Meals/ Main Dishes/ Pasta/ Vegetarian

Classic Pesto Cavatappi Recipe

With this classic pesto cavatappi recipe, everyone’s favorite Noodles & Company dish is unbelievably easy to make at home in 20 minutes, and even more delicious! Take it to the next level with homemade pesto!

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Hero image for the best classic pesto cavatappi recipe - a large skillet full of the dish, with serving plates, forks, and a bold green kitchen towel nearby.

Pasta: the ultimate comfort food. Boil it, bake it, mix it up any way you want, pasta is always a crowd-pleaser. Is it any surprise, then, that the chain Noodles & Company has done rather well for itself? All the noodles, all the time – sounds like food heaven to me!

My completely informal, anecdotal knowledge base suggests that pesto cavatappi is one of the most popular among the many popular noodle recipes at the eponymous chain. And, again, is it any wonder? We have these delightfully curved, chubby pasta shapes…

De Cecco cavatappi noodles spilling out of the bag across a dark blue background.

… bright cherry tomatoes and hearty mushrooms …

Cherry tomatoes and sliced white mushrooms in a large prep bowl.

… and, of course, pesto! While you can make this with pretty much any quality green pesto, including store-bought varieties, my personal favorite is this homemade basil pine nut pesto with lemon zest. So good!

And it’s very easy to make a big batch of pesto that keeps for at least a week in the fridge, so you can make that ahead and still whip up this pesto cavatappi recipe in about 20 minutes any day of the week.

And dinner is served! White wine not optional. You’ll use a small amount in the sauce, and at the risk of seeming unsympathetic, I’m going to suggest that finding a good purpose for the rest of the bottle is not a real problem. (See #8 here.) 🙂

White dinner plate filled with homemade pesto cavatappi with a glass of white wine.

One final note! As written, this recipe serves 3-4. It easily doubles to feed a crowd, but if you eat meat and want to stretch it just a bit, I like to serve the cavatappi with lean chicken breasts. In this case, sauté the chicken first, using the same skillet you plan to use for the sauce. Then, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Using the same skillet adds a bit of extra flavor to the sauce, and saves you from having to wash an extra pan!

Of course, uh, you could just double the recipe for the express purpose of having leftovers. Let me assure you: just like the wine, you should have no trouble finding them a good home.

A large skillet full of pesto cavatappi.

If you’re in the mood for other ultra-fast weeknight meals, here are a few of my favorites: one-pot curry cashew chicken and rice, healthy 20-minute tortellini soup, roasted tomato and garlic spaghetti, and cast-iron lemon thyme chicken.

Happy cooking! ♥

Hero image for the best classic pesto cavatappi recipe - a large skillet full of the dish, with serving plates, forks, and a bold green kitchen towel nearby.

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Classic Pesto Cavatappi Recipe

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 3-4 servings

With this classic pesto cavatappi recipe, everyone's favorite Noodles & Company dish is unbelievably easy to make at home in 20 minutes, and even more delicious! Click here to take this to the next level with homemade pesto!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. (250 grams) cavatappi pasta (or another hearty noodle)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces (about 275 grams or 1 pint) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 10 ounces (about 275 grams) white mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 7 ounces (about 200 grams) green pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • freshly-grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, to serve

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta to al dente as directed on packaging, then drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and mushrooms, and saute for about 2 minutes. Add white wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes, until most of the liquid cooks off. Add cream and simmer for 1-2 minutes more. Finally, spoon in the pesto, stirring until fully incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper, or adjust other seasonings, as desired.
  3. Add the warm, drained pasta to the skillet with the pesto sauce. Stir well and, if you can stand it, let it rest for a minute to allow the pasta to soak up a bit of the pesto. Top with Parmesan and serve warm.

Notes

As written, this recipe serves 3-4. It easily doubles to feed a crowd, or, if you want to stretch it just a bit, serve with lean chicken breasts. In this case, saute the chicken first, using the same skillet you plan to use for the sauce, then transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Using the same skillet adds a bit of extra flavor to the sauce, and saves you from having to wash an extra pan!

Recipe adapted from Cooking With Cristina.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1/4

Amount Per Serving

Calories 477

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Flat-lay of white dinner plate filled with homemade pesto cavatappi.

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The best classic pesto cavatappi recipe - ready in 20 minutes, and so delicious, with fresh pesto, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and Parmesan in a light white wine cream sauce! #copycatrecipes #weeknightdinners

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Michele @ Queenbeebaker
    February 1, 2018 at 11:44 am

    That looks amazing! What a gorgeous dish. My family would def love this!

  • Reply
    Dannii
    January 29, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Now this is a big pan of comfort food. I love the colour of the sauce too – so nourishing.

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 4, 2018 at 6:31 am

      Thanks so much, Dannii! Yes, pure comfort food!

  • Reply
    Valentina
    January 29, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I seriously want this for dinner tonight! Such a beautiful tasty looking meal.

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 4, 2018 at 6:32 am

      Thanks so much, Valentina! Hope it lands on your dinner table soon!

  • Reply
    Suzy | The Mediterranean Dish
    January 29, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Of course this is so calling my name! love it!

  • Reply
    Molly Kumar
    January 29, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Oh this looks so delicious and love the gorgeous green color! We are a huge pesto fan and this would be perfect for a weeknight dinner.

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 4, 2018 at 6:34 am

      Thanks so much, Molly! I love the color, too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    January 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I love cavatappi pasta! It has such a nice bite to it!! And I agree, pasta equates comfort food to me! Your pesto pasta dish looks so delicious! Makes me want to dive my face right into it!!! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 4, 2018 at 6:34 am

      That’s the perfect word – it has a wonderful bite!

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