Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Company Copycat)

It only takes 6 ingredients and 15 minutes to create copycat Pesto Cavatappi at home. It’s faster, cheaper, and tastier than the Noodles & Company version!

Pasta can be one of the cheapest meals around, but once in a while it’s worth it to overpay because you just love a dish so much.

A photo of two white bowls filled with pesto cavatappi. The dish to the foreground is topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and adorned with a small sprig of basil. The photo is taken on a dark wood counter top.

The Pesto Cavatappi at Noodles & Company is that sort of dish: Chewy noodles and a creamy pesto sauce with a few bright pieces of tomato and mushroom to keep things interested.

Nevermind that I can buy a half-dozen boxes of pasta at the grocery store for the price of one bowl at Noodles… it’s really very delicious, and it’s one of many great options.

The only problem in this scenario? Noodles & Company isn’t in Los Angeles!  Luckily, I can whip up my own better version of the dish in a flash.

Part 1: Pesto.  You can either buy pesto, or use my Basil-Walnut Pesto recipe which is what I did.  I tend to keep a jar in the freezer for times like this, although you can find it at most grocery stores now too.  With a few other ingredients, you’ll whip up a delicious pesto-cream sauce in no time.

Part 2: Cavatappi.  This is a noodle, obviously.  You could really use any type of pasta you want, but you want something with nooks and crannies to trap the flavorful sauce and infuse the dish with flavor.  That’s what you’re looking for.

An overhead photo of two white bowls filled with pesto cavatappi. The dish to the foreground is topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and adorned with a small sprig of basil. The photo is taken on a dark wood counter top.

A handful of bright, flavorful tomatoes and a few mushroom slices complete the dish. Feel free to add chicken if you need a protein!

Looking for a gluten-free option? Sub brown rice pasta as seen in my Kale Pesto Pasta recipe.

Watch this video to see how easy Pesto is to make – and 4 other things you can do with it!

Save this Pesto Cavatappi recipe to your
“Dinner Ideas” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

A photo of two white bowls filled with pesto cavatappi. The dish to the foreground is topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and adorned with a small sprig of basil. The photo is taken on a dark wood counter top.
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Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Company Copycat)

It only takes 6 ingredients and 15 minutes to create copycat Pesto Cavatappi at home. It's faster, cheaper, and tastier than the Noodles & Company version!
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 637 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta or other small pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large tomato cored and diced
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms optional
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (see notes)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup homemade pesto or store-bought
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts of water and salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes and mushrooms (if using) and cook for about 5 minutes, until some of the liquid has been released and the tomatoes are heated through.
  3. Stir in the broth, wine, and cream and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add pesto and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta and toss until uniformly coated in the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

More chicken broth can be used in place of the white wine.

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