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!
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…
… bright cherry tomatoes and hearty mushrooms …
… 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.) 🙂
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.
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! ♥
Classic Pesto Cavatappi Recipe
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.