Pesto Cavatappi is my daughter’s favorite dish at Noodles & Co. She has been begging me to make this dish for a while. When I was asked to demonstrate making pesto on KSL Studio 5, she asked me again to make Pesto Cavatappi. It is delicious and quick to make. If you are looking for an easy dinner that everyone will love, you have to try Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co., copycat) !
Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. copycat) is pasta coated with a sauce made from tomatoes, chicken broth, cream and then pesto is added. Once you have poured the sauce over the pasta, garnish with parmesan cheese. Add roasted chicken if you are looking for a heartier meal. It was so satisfying when my daughter took her first bite and said, “Mom you nailed it!”
How To Make Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. copycat)
1. Get a large pot of water boiling. When you boil water with a lid on the pan, it keeps the heat in and makes the water boil much faster. If you are looking for a fun science experiment, use a timer when boiling water in the exact same pan with and without a lid. I always use a lid.
2. Make the pesto. Buy a fresh basil plant and pick all the leaves from the plant. I usually purchase mine at a local grocery store in the produce section. Try to snap the leave off without getting any of the stem. There is about 2 cups of basil leaves on the plants I buy. That is just what this recipe calls for.
Put all the basil leaves and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse several times until they are finely chopped. Now, add the grated parmesan and minced garlic and pulse until well chopped.
The nice thing about making your own pesto is you can regulate the amount of garlic and parmesan cheese. If you like your pesto cheesier, add more. Garlic not your favorite condiment, add less or leave it out.
Put the olive oil in some kind of dish with a spout. This will help you get the olive oil through the hole in the lid of the food processor. Pour a thin stream of oil while the food processor is going. You do NOT want to pour the oil in all at once.
3. Put the cavatappi pasta in the boiling water and set the timer for 11 minutes.
4. Make the tomato sauce. Dice the tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. I cut the top of the tomatoes off and then slice them in half. Cut one direction and then turn the cutting board on quarter of a turn and cut the other direction.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large fry pan and then add the diced tomatoes. Cook until soft about 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and heavy cream. Once this begins to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2-4 minutes or until it begins to thicken up. When the pasta is done, add the pesto to the tomato mixture and heat through.
5. When the pasta is done, drain it and put it in a large bowl.
6. Pour the pesto-tomato sauce over the cooked pasta. Grate fresh parmesan cheese on a box grater and then add the cheese and toss until all the pasta is well coated.
7. If you want to have a heartier dish, heat some cooked, shredded chicken. Add to the top of your pasta or put the chicken in the bowl before you pour on the sauce. Either way, you will love it!
Here are a few of my favorite products to make Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co., Copycat)
Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat)
- 1 lb. Cavatappi Noodles Also known as cellentani
- 4 Roma Tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. Oliva Oil
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Cups Basil Leaves
- 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- Boil water for pasta. Once boiling add pasta and set timer for 11 minutes.
- Dice tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat olive oil and then add tomatoes. Cook for 2-4 minutes until soft and cooked through.
- Add chicken broth and heavy cream to tomatoes. Cook over medium heat for 2-4 minutes or until bubbly and thick. Simmer until pasta is ready.
- Drain the pasta when done and pour into a large bowl.
- Add pesto to tomato-cream mixture and heat through. Pour over cooked pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh tomatoes.
- Put the basil leaves, no stems, in a food processor.
- Add the pine nuts and pulse 8-10 times until everything is chopped.
- Peel and mince the garlic. Add chopped garlic and 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Pulse 8-10 times until well chopped.
- Pour the olive oil in a thin stream through the lid of the food processor while the machine is going. You will need to scrape down the sides several times after all the oil is added and continue to blend for about a minute.