Pesto Cavatappi Recipe With Video | TheBellyRulesTheMind (2023)

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Pesto Cavatappi is a tasty copycat recipe of the famous Noodles & Company dish. This recipe uses fresh homemade basil pesto sauce. It smells and tastes amazing and is guaranteed to please the whole family. With this recipe, you can make a mouthwatering pasta any night of the week.

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This Recipe's Index
  • What is Pesto Cavatappi?
  • Why make pasta in the Instant Pot?
  • How to make
  • Pro tips and tricks
  • Can I make this Pesto Pasta Vegan?
  • How do I ensure that my tomatoes do not become too mushy?
  • Can you reheat Pesto Pasta?
  • What can you serve it with?
  • Can I add other vegetables?
  • Other pasta dishes you might like
  • Made this recipe? Tag us on Instagram!
  • Pesto Cavatappi

What is Pesto Cavatappi?

Pesto cavatappi is an Italian inspired noodle dish that is one of many options at Noodles & Company. This copycat recipe tastes just like their dish, cooks in a matter of minutes, and is definitely less expensive to make.

Pesto sauce offers a slightly spicy, slightly nutty flavor. It goes well on noodles, but it also helps enhance the flavors of just about any vegetable you can think of.

Pesto Cavatappi Recipe With Video | TheBellyRulesTheMind (2)

Why make pasta in the Instant Pot?

There are several great reasons to use your Instant Pot to cook pasta. You don’t need to worry about draining the pasta when it is done. The pasta will absorb the water or broth you cook it in. When you make pasta in the Instant Pot, it is one pot meal - no need to cook the sauce separately or use a strainer. It is also a set and forget cooking method - no need to stir the noodles while cooking, manage boil-overs, or guess when the noodles are ready.

New to the Instant Pot and nervous about trying your hand at Instant Pot cooking? Take a deep breath! We’ve got you covered. Our handy guide to Instant Pot cooking called Is the Instant Pot Worth It breaks down everything you need to know to cook pasta like a pro in the pressure cooker.

Pesto Cavatappi Recipe With Video | TheBellyRulesTheMind (3)

(Video) Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles and Company Copycat)

How to make

We make this recipe in the Instant Pot for ease. It’s a one pot meal and you don’t need to keep an eye on the cooking noodles. Here’s how to make the pesto and the pasta.

To make the pesto sauce, rinse your basil leaves under cool water. Shake the leaves dry. Then, add the basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt, garlic, and olive oil to a high power blender or food processor. Mix on high until a smooth sauce is made. You may need to scrap the sides down a bit. Set the sauce aside when it is ready.

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Set your Instant Pot on sauté mode and add the oil and cherry tomatoes when the inner pot is hot. Sauté the tomatoes for about 30 seconds or until they start to wilt. Remove the tomatoes from the inner pot and set aside.

Next, add the garlic and mushrooms to the inner pot and sauté for about 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the pesto sauce and mix together well.

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After the mushrooms are covered in sauce, add in the noodles, water, and salt to taste. Do not stir the noodles at this point.

Set the Instant Pot to manual pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to slowly release for about 5 minutes and then do a quick release to remove the remaining pressure.

Remove the lid and pour in the heavy cream or milk and give everything a good stir. Turn on sauté and sauté the pasta for a few minutes to help the sauce thicken. Top with the tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Serve the pasta hot in bowls or plates.

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Pro tips and tricks

Follow these tips and tricks to make the best basil pesto pasta:

(Video) Creamy Pesto Cavatappi with Chicken Recipe

  • do not pressure cook the tomatoes because they will become too mushy
  • do not pressure cook the cream or milk because it will separate
  • use homemade pesto sauce in this recipe, it enhances the flavors. However, if you are reallyin a pinch you could always usestore bought pesto sauce!
  • we use cavatappi noodles which are like a macaroni noodle that is in the shape of a spiral, you can use them or other similarly shaped noodles if you prefer
  • You can use gluten-free pasta to make this pesto pasta
  • do not stir the noodle before pressure cooking the pasta

Can I make this Pesto Pasta Vegan?

Yes! You can make this pesto vegan. To do so, substitute the Parmesan cheese with ground up cashew meal. Also, substitute the cream or milk with a dairy free version that has a neutral flavor, such as soy milk or almond milk.

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How do I ensure that my tomatoes do not become too mushy?

To avoid mushy tomatoes, only cook them on sauté mode with some oil for about 30 seconds or until they just start to wilt. Remove them from the heat and set aside while you pressure cook the pasta. Once the pasta is ready, you then top it with the prepared tomatoes.

Can you reheat Pesto Pasta?

Pasta is best served fresh, but if you want to reheat leftovers for lunch, you definitely can. When you store the pasta, allow it to cool completely and place it in a microwave safe and airtight container. When you are ready to reheat it, cover it with a damp paper towel and microwave the pasta for about 1 to 2 minutes or until it is warmed through.

If you want, you can pre-make the pesto sauce. Store it in an airtight container for up to about 4 days in the refrigerator. Add it to this recipe when you are ready to make it or add a spoonful of the pesto to our Vegan Spaghetti Noodles recipe.

Pesto Cavatappi Recipe With Video | TheBellyRulesTheMind (8)

What can you serve it with?

This pasta goes great with a side of fresh bread, breadsticks or dinner rolls. You can also serve it with your favorite main dishes like eggplant parmesan or roasted vegetables.

Can I add other vegetables?

Yes, you can definitely add more vegetables. You can add sliced colorful bell peppers. You could also add broccoli, just cook covered for 1 minute at the end. If you have other vegetables you like, you can definitely try adding them.

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Other pasta dishes you might like

Love pasta and want some more ideas of how to make them? Here are some of our favorite pasta dishes featuring flavors from different parts of the world:

  • Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
  • Best Garlic Noodles
  • Penne Pomodoro
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Vegetable Chow Mein
  • Minestrone soup

Made this recipe? Tag us on Instagram!

If you make this recipe , don’t forget to come back and leave your feedback and star rating. We would be THRILLED if you would take a picture and share it on Instagram. Be sure to tag us @dbellyrulesdmind.

(Video) Sicilian Pesto Pasta - From the Test Kitchen

Ingredients

For Pesto

  • Fresh basil leaves - 1- 1/2 cups
  • Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces) - 1/2 cup
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup
  • Pine nuts - 1/3 cup
  • Garlic cloves, minced- 3
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Freshly ground black pepper - 1/4 teaspoon

For Pasta

  • Pesto - 1/2cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Cavatappi Pasta - 8 oz
  • Fresh white mushrooms (sliced thickly) 1 -1/2 cup
  • Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Cherry tomatoes (sliced in half) - 1 cup
  • Garlic cloves (roughly chopped) -2 cloves
  • some shredded Parmesan cheese (for garnish) (optional)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream or milk- 1/4cup (optional)

Instructions

    Prepare the Pesto Sauce

    1. Rinse Basil leaves in cold water
    2. In a food processor or high-power blender, combine basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts ,salt, garlic, and olive oil.
    3. Your Pesto sauce is ready.


    For the Pasta

    1. Set Instant pot to Sauté Mode
    2. Once you see the HOT message, add oil andcherry tomatoes
    3. Sauté the tomatoes for around 30 seconds.
    4. Remove the tomatoes out and set them aside.
    5. Add the chopped garlic and the mushrooms to the inner pot
    6. Sauté them for around 1 minute.
    7. Add thepesto sauce and mix the ingredients well and then add the Cavatappi pasta to the inner pot
    8. Add water and salt to taste.
    9. Do not stir.
    10. Set the Pressure cooker to Manual/Pressure Cook with High Pressure, for 5 minutes.
    11. Once the timer is up, allow around 5 minutes for NPR (natural pressure release).
    12. Use the quick release method to let off the remaining pressure.
    13. Add in heavy cream and stir everything well.
    14. You can saute the pasta for a few minutes if you like the sauce a bit thicker.
    15. Top it with the cherry tomatoes that were set aside earlier.
    16. You can top it with Parmesan cheese
    17. Serve hot and enjoy !

Notes

  • Do not pressure cook the tomatoes because they will become too mushy
  • Do not pressure cook the cream or milk because it will separate
  • Use homemade pesto sauce in this recipe, it enhances the flavors.However, if you arereallyin a pinch you could always usestore bought Pesto sauce
  • We use cavatappi noodles which are like a macaroni noodle that is in the shape of a spiral, you can use them or other similarly shaped noodles if you prefer
  • You can use gluten-free pasta to make this pesto pasta
  • Do not stir the noodle before pressure cooking the pasta

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Nutrition Information

Yield 4Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 613Total Fat 50gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 35gCholesterol 37mgSodium 539mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 16g

(Video) Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. We are not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on TheBellyRulesTheMind.net should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though we try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of our ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.

FAQs

What is the ratio of pesto to pasta? ›

As a very rough guide, your pesto should weigh about 2/3 the weight of the dried pasta you are cooking. So for a standard, single serving of 75g dried pasta, we think that 50g of pesto is about right.

What meat goes well with pesto pasta? ›

Sauce the Meat

Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and even fish, so you don't have to worry about spicing or marinating your meat. You can also season meatloaf or meatballs with pesto.

How do you use pesto instead of pasta? ›

Read on for more tips on kicking your recipes up a notch with a dollop of pesto.
  1. Use it to enhance pasta salad.
  2. Use it to flavor lean chicken breast.
  3. Add it to soup.
  4. Add a cube to marinara sauce.
  5. Make homemade pizza with pesto as the sauce.
  6. Top fish with a spoonful.
  7. Get trendy.
  8. Spoon on hard-boiled eggs.
6 Oct 2021

Do you heat pesto before putting pasta? ›

PESTO SHOULD NEVER BE “COOKED”. If you cook Pesto Sauce, you change the make up of the fresh basil and cause it to turn darker in color. It is best to warm it up and use it at room temperature. If it needs to be thinned out, you can do so by adding a little water, chicken stock, cream or white wine.

Should you add pasta water to pesto? ›

The pasta water is a crucial part of pesto pasta sauce. If you don't add a little of the reserved water that you cooked your pasta in, it'll be dry and a little clumpy. You want a delicious creamy pesto pasta, and the starchy pasta water allows the sauce to coat the cooked pasta perfectly.

What flavors go good with pesto? ›

Mix and Match Pesto

Throw in whatever herbs you have on hand to round out the flavors (or to make up the bulk, if you're short on basil). Cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, sage, chives, or alternate varieties of basil (such as lemon basil or Thai basil) are all great choices to be mixed with basil in your pesto.

What kind of protein goes with pesto pasta? ›

Seafood is always a good choice for a protein to go with pesto pasta. Salmon is not only delicious, but it's easy to prepare and is a perfect match for the pesto's strong basil and garlic flavors. Try pan-searing your salmon fillets on medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Which protein goes well with pesto? ›

The meats that go best with pesto pasta include chicken, shrimp, Turkey, Tuna and Salmon. Lets take a deep dive and look at each one and why it pairs so well with pesto pasta.

How long will pesto keep in the fridge? ›

Homemade pesto lasts for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

Self-made pesto usually doesn't contain any preservatives, so nothing is preventing it from going bad, hence the short period. Of course, it would be ideal if you would take a mortar and a pestle and whip up fresh pesto for every dish.

Is pesto good for health? ›

Besides adding fresh flavor, pesto has health benefits. Its ingredients are part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. Plus, certain compounds in the ingredients may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Can you eat pesto straight from the jar? ›

Pesto is fine to eat straight from the jar... however there is a little 'but' to this. Most commonly used for stirring through pasta, pesto is a versatile ingredient and lends itself to a variety of uses.

Does cheese go with pesto? ›

While jarred versions may be convenient, nothing beats the sweet, herbal, slightly nutty brightness of homemade pesto, especially when pairing with cheese. A classic-for-a-reason companion is ricotta—the whipped, milky lightness of the fresh curds make them a dreamy pillow for the spread.

Should pesto be heated? ›

The Most Important Rule of Cooking With Pesto: Don't Cook It

In a departure from almost every other pasta sauce out there, all the charm of pesto is dependent on its fresh, raw flavor. Heat, and in particular prolonged exposure to high heat, is just about the worst thing for it.

Is pesto served hot or cold? ›

To serve it cold just store it in the refrigerator until it cools! Should pesto be heated? You should not heat the pesto sauce, because it will change the color, taste and texture of the fresh basil. This is why I recommend keeping the pasta warm.

How long does cooked pasta with pesto last in the fridge? ›

To maximize the shelf life of cooked pasta for safety and quality, refrigerate the pasta in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Properly stored, cooked pasta will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

How long does pesto last? ›

Refrigerated pesto will last 1-3 weeks in the fridge and can be frozen to last longer, read on for a complete list of signs and variables. The shelf life of pesto depends on a variety of factors such as the best before date, the preparation method and how the pesto is stored.

Can you eat pesto cold? ›

Can you eat pesto cold? You can definitely eat pesto cold. It's delicious in pasta salads, spread on sandwiches, stirred into dips, and so much more.

Do you refrigerate pesto? ›

Storing Pesto in a Jar

Make your classic pesto and then fill a jar to to almost the very top. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and seal closed to keep pesto green. This can keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you continue to cover the top with olive to keep the herbs fresh.

What is creamy pesto sauce? ›

Creamy pesto is basically regular basil pesto with the addition of heavy cream. This makes the sauce a bit milder but much creamier than regular pesto. You'll also need nuts (walnuts or pine nuts work well here), fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.

How much pesto do you put in a jar? ›

For pesto sauces, use about one jar of 5.6-ounce sauce for a 16-ounce package of pasta. The amount of pesto sauce needed for pasta per person would be about . 75 ounces of sauce for each 2 ounce (about 1 cup cooked) serving of pasta.

How do you add flavor to pesto? ›

Add a pinch of salt if the basil tastes too bitter or the pesto needs more zing. Add more Parmesan if you'd like a creamier/cheesier pesto. If desired, you can thin out the pesto with more olive oil.

What do you put pesto on? ›

5 Creative Ways to Use Pesto
  1. 1 - On pizza. Lately I've been loving pesto on pizza. ...
  2. 2 - On sandwiches. Like pizza, you could spread pesto right on your sandwich bread, but I really like to make flavored mayonnaise with pesto. ...
  3. 3 - In soup. Pesto adds so much flavor to soups! ...
  4. 4 - As a marinade. ...
  5. 5 - In a salad dressing.
23 Mar 2020

Is pesto good for your skin? ›

1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties. Traditional pesto uses basil, which is known to contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help improve your immune system. In addition, it also contains vitamins A, C & E that are beneficial for improving your skin health.

Is pesto high in protein? ›

With 1.38 grams of protein per tablespoon of pesto, this sauce is not a protein-rich food. Because it is treated as a condiment, it can be used to add flavor to other foods that are higher in protein.

What meat goes good with pasta? ›

The Best Proteins That Will Compliment Your Pasta
  • Chicken. When you think of protein in your pasta, you probably think of chicken. ...
  • Steak. If you are looking to treat yourself, add some steak to your pasta. ...
  • Shrimp. ...
  • Salmon.
1 Jul 2021

What kind of wine goes with pesto? ›

Pesto Pasta

To pair your pesto dish with wine, consider the herb as the centerpiece of the meal. Try a herb-driven wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, or Catarratto to pair with your pesto pasta.

Why does pesto go off so quickly? ›

Pesto has a short shelf life due to the high content of olive oil and pine nuts, which can become rancid faster than other components. Fortunately, by properly storing pesto, you can extend its shelf life beyond its expiration date.

Can you eat expired pesto? ›

Can you eat expired pesto? Pesto may still be edible after passing its recommended use date. Although the quality may have changed, an unopened jar of pesto may still be safe for the next 1 – 2 months when properly stored. Fresh store-bought pesto might be safe to consume up to 5 days after the use-by date.

How long does homemade pesto last in fridge? ›

Shelf Life Tips

How long does homemade pesto last in the fridge? Homemade pesto will generally keep for about 4 to 5 days, assuming it has been continuously refrigerated. To further extend the shelf life of pesto, freeze it: Freeze pesto in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.

Is pesto good for high blood pressure? ›

Research published has shown that commercially produced pesto sauces have exceedingly high salt content, and that's not good for high blood pressure and anyone at risk of heart disease.

Can pesto help you lose weight? ›

Pesto is high in calories and fats; while it's somewhat a healthy part of the diet, it doesn't aid in weight loss benefits. In addition, pesto might not be suitable for a low-calorie weight loss diet plan because its ingredients include olive oil, nuts, and cheese.

Is there sugar in pesto? ›

Foods related to pesto sauce

Pesto sauce contains 92 calories per 16 g serving. This serving contains 9.5 g of fat, 1.4 g of protein and 0.9 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 0.1 g sugar and 0.2 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate.

What happens if I heat pesto? ›

Never heat the pesto before adding it to pasta. First, the heat will cook the basil, destroying its aroma. Second, if you use cheese (i.e., Parmigiano-Reggiano), it will clump.

What can I do with a jar of red pesto? ›

10 things you didn't know you could do with pesto
  1. Top a pizza. Replace the classic tomato sauce on the base of your pizza with vibrant, herby pesto for a tasty twist on a homemade takeaway. ...
  2. Turn into a dip. ...
  3. Salad base. ...
  4. Go beyond basil. ...
  5. Upgrade your breakfast. ...
  6. Bake a tart. ...
  7. Garnish a soup. ...
  8. Freshen up roasts.

How much pesto is a serving? ›

Pesto Nutrition

The FDA considers a serving to be 1/4 cup. In 1/4 cup of pesto there is: 263 calories.

How much is a serving of pesto sauce? ›

For pesto sauces, use about one jar of 5.6-ounce sauce for a 16-ounce package of pasta. The amount of pesto sauce needed for pasta per person would be about . 75 ounces of sauce for each 2 ounce (about 1 cup cooked) serving of pasta.

Do you use a whole jar of pesto sauce? ›

Normally, they are tiny and as a minimum I'd use 1/2 jar, but if its still too bland, would add the other half. I've also used it spread thinly on a baguette (or bake at home baguette) as an alternate to garlic bread. I hate finding the leftover pesto is mouldy, so usually try using it up in 1 go.

How much pasta do you cook per person? ›

Measuring Pasta Size

When you cook pasta, 2 ounces (56 g) of dry pasta per person is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Is pesto good for health? ›

Besides adding fresh flavor, pesto has health benefits. Its ingredients are part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. Plus, certain compounds in the ingredients may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Why is pesto good for you? ›

Pesto is high in fat and calories, but also contains many nourishing ingredients. Rich in vitamins, minerals and monounsaturated fats, pesto provides your body with tools to maintain cell health and keep your heart healthy. There's no reason you can't enjoy pesto if you remain conscious of your diet.

Is pesto good for high cholesterol? ›

Pesto is made out of olive oil, which research has shown to beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (1). The antioxidant risk oil is also good for reducing oxidative damage of LDL cholesterol in our blood, helping to reduce the risk factor of atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.

How long does pesto last? ›

Once you open the jar or tin, you can keep the sauce for about 7 to 10 days. When it comes to the store-bought pesto sold in the refrigerated area, in most cases it has a use-by date on the label. The unopened sauce should retain good quality for maybe up to 5 to 7 days past that date.

How long does fresh made pesto last? ›

So, Does Pesto Go Bad? Briefly, pesto does go bad, no matter how you store it. Commercial pesto can stay fresh for up to 8 months after opening. Homemade pesto, on the other hand, lasts for 3-4 months when freezed, but only 5-7 days when chilled in the fridge.

How do you make a jar of pesto sauce better? ›

"Depending on the taste of the one you purchase, you can add more olive oil, fresh basil or even cream. It's best to tailor the taste to the dish you're making. Garlic is also a great addition to add another layer of taste."

Does pesto in a jar need cooking? ›

You don't need to heat it up. Best thing to do with pesto is bin it.

Do you need to heat pesto from a jar? ›

The Most Important Rule of Cooking With Pesto: Don't Cook It

In a departure from almost every other pasta sauce out there, all the charm of pesto is dependent on its fresh, raw flavor. Heat, and in particular prolonged exposure to high heat, is just about the worst thing for it.

How long should I cook pasta? ›

Most dried ribbons of pasta such as linguine, spaghetti and tagliatelle take between 8-10 mins. Shorter, thicker pasta shapes like bows or penne take 10-12mins and fresh pasta such as ravioli and tortellini will be done between 3-5mins.

Should I measure pasta dry or cooked? ›

How do I measure pasta? Pasta can be measured before or after cooking. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that pasta doubles in size and weight when it is cooked.

Do you measure pasta cooked or uncooked? ›

What is a recommended serving size, and is this for cooked or uncooked pasta? The recommended serving size is 2 ounces of uncooked pasta, which equals approximately 1 cup of cooked pasta. For a detailed conversion of dry vs. cooked pasta visit our conversion chart located in the Pasta Measuring FAQ.

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