This Pesto Cream Sauce is just what you need when you want a decadent feeling dinner in just 15 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights when you are craving a big bowl of pasta with a creamy sauce. We like this pesto cream sauce served over penne, cavatappi or spaghetti. Grilled Chicken can be a great addition to this dish too.
Pesto is a mix of crushed garlic, pine nuts, walnuts or even cashews, coarse salt, herbs, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino romano cheese. In this recipe we are talking about Basil Pesto made with fresh basil leaves.
To make this dish really fast and easy you can use a store bought pesto. However the quality of grocery store pesto can have a vast range. Most of the shelf stable pestos are not very good (to be honest). Some don’t even have basil as the first ingredient and they have fillers like potato starch and spinach!
To get the very best store bought pesto look for something in the refrigerated section.
Now if you want to make your own Delicious Pesto follow this recipe for my Homemade Basil Pesto. The recipe also gives you tips to freeze any pesto you don’t use. It will be good in the fridge for 6 months up to a year! We like to freeze it in an ice cube tray for smaller portions and easier freezing!
I have made this Pesto Cream Sauce recipe with my frozen pesto. I simply thawed it in the microwave for a minute before adding it to the pan.
You only need a few ingredients to make this simple recipe for pesto cream sauce:
- fresh garlic cloves minced
- dried basil
- kosher salt (more to taste)
- good quality Pesto
- heavy cream
- parmesan grated
Step By Step Simple Instructions
Dinner will be ready in 15 minutes! Get the pasta boiling while you make the Pesto Cream Sauce.
Place a large skillet over medium-low heat and melt the butter.
Then add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the dried basil and kosher salt, sauté for an additional 30 seconds.
Pro Tip: lightly crush the dried basil in the palm of your hand before adding it to the skillet, it will release more oils and flavor.
Pour in 1 cup of pesto and heavy whipping cream.
Stir to combine and then simmer over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until it is completely melted.
Taste for additional seasoning – add more kosher salt as desired. If it needs a zing you can stir in a little squeeze of juice.
Let cool and thicken for 3 minutes.
This Creamy Pesto Sauce Recipe is wonderful with spaghetti, cavatappi or penne (but really just use your favorite pasta shape). Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and it will coat the noodles beautifully. Then garnish with additional parmesan cheese.
Serve it with a side salad and garlic bread for a heartier dinner.
Or instead of serving it over pasta use the sauce to pour over grilled chicken breasts.
If you don’t want to have it for dinner it also makes a great side dish !
Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
As with any cream sauce pasta, like alfredo sauces, or mascarpone pasta, reheating can lead to a little separation of the cream and oil. But it is still really delicious!! Microwave portions for a minute and then give it a good stir.
More Recipes Using Basil & Pesto
15 minute Pesto Cream Sauce Recipe
- Large non-stick skillet
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
- 1 cup good quality Pesto or use this Pesto Recipe
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan grated
- Place a large skillet over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the dried basil and kosher salt, saute for an additional 30 seconds.
- Pour in the pesto and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Simmer over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until it is completely melted.
- Taste for additional seasoning – add more kosher salt as desired.
- Let cool and thicken for 3 minutes.
- Serve tossed with cooked pasta (spaghetti, cavatappi or penne are great). Should be enough sauce to coat at least 12 oz of pasta. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese.
- Would also be great spooned over grilled chicken!
- Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Reheat portions in the microwave for 1 minute. Just like an alfredo you may get a little separation of the oil and cream when reheating.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.