This delicious Pesto Cream Sauce is easy to make with rich cream, flavorful pesto and parmesan cheese. Serve it over your favorite pasta for a family friendly dinner that uses simple ingredients and comes together in less than 20 minutes.

Tender pasta smothered in this luscious cream and pesto sauce is pure comfort food. This is one of those simple pasta dishes that looks impressive and tastes amazing, yet is easy enough to make on busy weeknights.

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Pesto cream sauce with pasta is one of my new favorite dinners. This recipe is super easy to make, loaded with flavor, and has one of my favorite ingredients: pesto! It’s also a meal that’s easily done in 20 minutes and is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Bowtie pasta covered in a pesto cream sauce.

Ingredients 

The pairing of tender noodles, pesto sauce with cream and Parmesan cheese is a winning flavor combination! Here’s everything you’ll need to make this dish:

  • Heavy cream. I recommend a good quality heavy cream, where cream is the only ingredient listed on the package. This will make your sauce perfectly rich and extra tasty!
  • Water. For extra flavor, if you’re serving this with pasta, use the leftover pasta water.
  • Butter. I prefer using unsalted butter for this recipe to control the saltiness.
  • Pesto sauce. The star of this recipe! I like to use freshly made pesto that can be found near fresh (not dried) pasta or in the produce section of the store. You could also make homemade pesto.
  • Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan is always best.
  • Salt & pepper. I recommend tasting the finished sauce before adding salt. Depending on the saltiness of your pesto, you may not need any salt at all. 
  • Pasta. Choose any favorite pasta to pair with this easy pesto sauce. We like to use bow tie pasta, also known as farfalle pasta. Penne pasta works too! 
Creamy pesto sauce in a large pot.

Recipe instructions

This pesto sauce recipe could not be easier. Here’s a quick rundown of how to make it:

  1. Boil pasta. If you’ll be serving this with pasta, start a pot of salted boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente and according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. Make the sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, mix together the cream and water. Bring to a very gentle simmer. Add in the butter and pesto and stir to combine. Continue to stir until the butter is melted and for 5 minutes over low heat. Stir in the parmesan and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Serve. Enjoy with your favorite pasta! 
Pasta in a large skillet garnished with fresh basil.

Tips for recipe success

Here are a few tips to make sure your pesto cream sauce is absolutely perfect every time!

  • I like to make the sauce in a large skillet, so the pasta can easily be mixed into the sauce once made.
  • When cooking this creamy pasta recipe, make sure the sauce doesn’t boil as it can separate.
  • We like to serve this dish with a simple salad. Toss mixed greens with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add toppings to your salad such as red onion, cherry tomatoes, and croutons. It also pairs well with garlic bread!
  • Feel free to add some veggies to the mix. Sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, artichokes, cherry tomatoes or roasted bell peppers would all be great.

Storing leftovers

Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to about 4 days.

The sauce mixed with the pasta is best served immediately. If you wait too long to serve it, the pasta tends to dry up. If your pasta gets too dry, add additional pasta cooking water to make the pasta creamier again.

Bowtie pasta with pesto sauce.

As usual, PLEASE PLEASE let me know if you end up making this sauce recipe (or any of my recipes!). I love when you tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling!

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Pesto cream sauce pasta in a bowl.

Pesto Cream Sauce


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This delicious Pesto Cream Sauce is easy to make with rich cream, flavorful pesto and parmesan cheese. Serve it over your favorite pasta for a family friendly dinner that uses simple ingredients and comes together in less than 20 minutes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup of water*
  • 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of pesto sauce (more as desired)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste (mine did not need any additional salt but that depends on the saltiness of your pesto)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, mix together the cream and water. Bring to a very gentle simmer.
  2. Add in the butter and pesto and stir to combine. Continue to stir until the butter is melted and for 5 minutes over low heat. Stir in the parmesan and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Serve with your favorite pasta (I like to make the sauce in a large skillet so the pasta can be mixed right in) and ENJOY!

Notes

Notes: *If you’re serving this with pasta, I like to use leftover pasta water in the cream sauce.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 543
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Sodium: 876.8 mg
  • Fat: 49.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.2 g
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Cholesterol: 72.6 mg