The Easiest Pesto Cavatappi

This Pesto Cavatappi is a classic pesto dish that is ready in no time flat. With its Cavatappi noodles and a pesto base, your family will be begging for you to make it more often!

Pesto Cavatappi

Pesto Cavatappi

If you have been hanging out with us on our blog for a while you know I am all about simple meals that are easy, taste great, and don’t take a lot of time. 

So today I thought I would share with you one of our favorites, my littles know it as pesto and noodles, but the grown-up name is Pesto Cavatappi. We use our homemade pesto without pine nuts recipe for this Cavatappi and let me tell you it tastes so good!

The thing that takes the longest in this recipe is waiting for the water to boil! Once the water is boiling you will be eating dinner in less than 15 minutes! 

Pesto Cavatappi

Although Pesto Cavatappi takes so little time to make, it still looks like you spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen preparing a gourmet meal, especially if you decide to saute vegetables and add some cooked shredded chicken to it. 

This dish is also perfect for summer BBQs (Yes, I am already dreaming about them!), picnics, last minute get-togethers with friends, and more. In fact, my kids will grab a serving out of the fridge and heat it up for an afternoon snack. 

This is definitely a meal that we eat at least once a week in the summer, especially because most of the fresh ingredients come right out of our garden. 

Pesto Cavatappi Recipe

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Pesto Cavatappi

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes for sauce

Cook Time: 10 minutes for noodles

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients for Pesto Cavatappi

ingredients for Pesto Cavatappi recipe

1 16 ounce box Cavatappi noodles

2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed

2 garlic cloves

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon pepper

Extra Parmesan cheese to garnish for serving

You’ll also want to have the following tools to make it easier:

How to Make Pesto Cavatappi

First, you will want to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your Cavatappi noodles as directed on the box. 

While the pasta is boiling you will want to prepare you Pesto sauce by adding your basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to your food processor and grind until well combined.  Set this aside. 

Pesto Cavatappi

Once noodles are done, drain well. 

Toss noodles with the sauce and top with extra grated Parmesan cheese and serve. 

Pesto Cavatappi

Tips and Tricks for Making Pesto Cavatappi

  1. Don’t cook your pesto. Pesto is best left in its raw form. So once your noodles are done and drained, toss your raw pesto with them and serve. If you cook your pesto it will change the color of it. 
  2. If you want a thinner pesto sauce, add about 1 Tablespoon of milk to it until it reaches your desired texture you are looking for. 
  3. Use any noodles! Yes, this pesto cavatappi recipe calls for Cavatappi pasta, but use any noodles you have on hand. Penne, Bow Tie, etc. I just wouldn’t try and use a spaghetti type noodles. 
  4. Get Creative! Add meats and vegetables to your cavatappi recipe for different flavors that your family will love!
  5. Use Salted water when cooking pasta. This adds so much flavor to the recipe. 
  6. Don’t rinse the pasta after you drain it. I know sometimes it is tempting to rinse the pasta if it is sticking together, but resist! This actually helps the pesto stick to the noodles. 
Pesto Cavatappi

What is Cavatappi Pasta?

Cavatappi pasta is sometimes known as the corkscrew noodle because that is what it looks like. It is also known as a Cellentani or tortiglione noodle as well. 

It is an eggless noodle, that is thicker which is perfect for soaking up lots of sauce! 

How long does it take to cook Cavatappi noodles?

Once your water is boiling, it takes about 9-12 minutes. 

Can I use a different noodle if I can’t find Cavatappi Pasta?

Yes, you can switch out the noodles if you are having trouble locating it. Penne pasta works really great (think Penne Pesto). The thing you want to look for in the noodle is that it is a thicker noodle so that you can soak up the sauce better. 

Can I spice up my Pesto Cavatappi Recipe?

Yes, you can spice up your Pesto Cavatappi recipe by adding red pepper flakes to get the desired spice you are looking for. 

What can I add to Pesto Cavatappi?

This version of Pesto Cavatappi is a very simple recipe which my kids love! There are many things you can add to your Pesto Cavatappi. Try:

  • Cooked Chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes halved work best. 
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Green Peppers
  • Green Beans
  • Spinach
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes

If you are going to put vegetables in your pesto cavatappi you will want to saute them in a pan for a few minutes to make them tender. 

How to Store Cavatappi Leftovers

You can store your pesto Cavatappi in the fridge in an airtight container for about 2-3 days. 

To reheat, place some Cavatappi in a microwaveable safe container in the microwave and heat until the desired temperature. 

I don’t recommend freezing Pesto Cavatappi leftovers. The sauce yes, but not mixed with the noodles. 

Share with us in the comments how your Pesto Cavatappi Recipe turns out! And tag us on Instagram with a picture of your recipe! We would love to see it! 

Picture of Pesto Cavatappi in white bowl
Yield: 4 servings

The Easiest Pesto Cavatappi

The Easiest Pesto Cavatappi

This Pesto Cavatappi is a classic pesto dish that is ready in no time flat. With its Cavatappi noodles and a pesto base, your family will be begging for you to make it more often!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce box Cavatappi noodles
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • Extra Parmesan cheese to garnish for serving

Instructions

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your Cavatappi noodles as directed on the box. 
    2. While the pasta is boiling prepare pesto sauce by adding your basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to your food processor and grind until well combined. Set aside.
    3. Once noodles are done, drain well. 
    4. Toss noodles with pesto sauce and top with extra grated parmesan cheese and serve. 

Notes

  1. Don’t cook your pesto. Pesto is best left in its raw form. So once your noodles are done and drained, toss your raw pesto with them and serve. If you cook your pesto it will change the color of it. 
  2. If you want a thinner pesto sauce, add about 1 Tablespoon of milk to it until it reaches your desired texture you are looking for. 
  3. Use any noodles! Yes, this pesto cavatappi recipe calls for Cavatappi pasta, but use any noodles you have on hand. Penne, Bow Tie, etc. I just wouldn’t try and use a spaghetti type noodles. 
  4. Get Creative! Add meats and vegetables to your cavatappi recipe for different flavors that your family will love!
  5. Use Salted water when cooking pasta. This adds so much flavor to the recipe. 
  6. Don’t rinse the pasta after you drain it. I know sometimes it is tempting to rinse the pasta if it is sticking together, but resist! This actually helps the pesto stick to the noodles. 

For More Pesto Dishes Check out these!

Homemade Pesto without Pine Nuts

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and don’t forget to rate it below! We always love knowing how your recipe turns out! And don’t forget to save this easy recipe to your favorite Pinterest board! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at Confessions of Parenting to show me your finished product!

pesto cavatappi

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