PW’s Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

When I saw the Pioneer Woman’s post for this recipe, I could not wait to try it, knowing that I had fresh basil out in my garden just waiting to be picked! I made a couple of minor changes, and I didn’t include the chopped tomatoes (none in the garden yet, and I wasn’t going to the store, AND my kids won’t eat them). I also swapped out the heavy cream for half and half, and didn’t feel like it was lacking…in fact, next time, I’m using fat-free half and half. And, I used a little less olive oil than the recipe called for, too.

It was amazingly delicious, and so simple. I gave each of the kids a little bit, and Bennett immediately asked for more! The other two also ate it, though were content with their small serving.

¾ cups Fresh Basil Leaves
½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
2 large cloves Garlic, Peeled
Salt And Pepper, to taste
⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cups Half and Half
2 Tablespoons Butter
¼ cups Grated Parmesan (additional)
12 ounces, weight Pasta (cavitappi, Fusili, Etc.)
2 whole Tomatoes, Diced

Cook pasta until al dente.

Add basil leaves, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and salt (you can omit this) and pepper to a food processor or blender. Turn machine on, then drizzle in olive oil while it mixes. Continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed. Set aside.

Heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pesto and stir.

Drain pasta and place in a serving bowl. Pour pesto cream over the top. Toss to combine. Add diced tomatoes and toss quickly. Serve immediately.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jan
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 14:37:34

    I think I’ll try this! I love basil/pesto.

    I’m making a note to look at the ingredients label on a container of fat free half-n-half. Clearly that phrase is a contradiction in terms and I want to see how they pull that off.


    • Nicole
      Jun 11, 2011 @ 15:51:58

      It was so good.

      I know the fat-free thing seems contradictory…but it works in lots of recipes! Land o’ Lakes’ website claims it’s natural with no preservatives!


  2. illinigirl
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 18:36:15

    I. must. try. this.


  3. Jamie
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 14:18:16

    i make a similar version to this and wanted to comment about 2 things:

    1) i use fat free half and half and it works just fine..

    2) because i always feel like i’m pinching back basil so it doesn’t flower and become bitter i make batches of pesto (minus parm cheese because it doesn’t freeze well) and freeze it for quick appetizer or for the pesto cream pasta in the winter. i nice summerish treat in the dead of winter is always nice. just remember to add the parm cheese after it thaws.

    oh and one more thing…grilled shrimp or chicken is awesome in this pasta. 🙂


    • Nicole
      Jun 15, 2011 @ 14:51:11

      Thanks, Jamie! I need to go pinch the basil back now, so I’ll make a batch to freeze. And thanks for the advice about the parm! I’ll leave it out.


  4. kirksonya
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 14:15:13

    I just tried a recipe basically the same as this one except you use jarred pesto ( I would have done this recipe but already had everything for the other one) and you add chicken and mushrooms. It was awesome. Just thought I would add that to this one. It’s silly for me to type out the other recipe because it is so similar to this one.


  5. Trackback: Pesto Crockpot Chicken | Three More Bites...

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