Easy Pesto Cavatappi Recipe

This Noodles & Company Copycat Pesto Cavatappi is so easy to make at home in minutes. Much less expensive to make this homemade version for the family and it’s even tastier than the original, too!

Pesto Cavatappi in a white bowl with a fork and a skillet in the background with pasta and a wooden spoon.

One time in my life I stopped into a Noodles & Company waaaaaay out in Fort Collins, Colorado because I was on a business trip…..starving…..and desperately needed some carbs. I have never been to this restaurant before and couldn’t wait to give this raved about chain a try….and I love pasta sooooo it seemed like the perfect option.

I ordered the Pesto Cavatappi which was simply amazing in every sense of the word. Tender, perfectly cooked pasta tossed together with ready to burst tomatoes, mushrooms, pesto and cheese. A touch of cream gives this simple dish an extra level of comforting richness that’s so perfect.

It was just what I needed after a long, tiring flight…..that and a nap. 

Overhead shot of Pesto Cavatappi in a skillet.

When I returned home, I missed my new love, Noodles & Company. We don’t really have them here on the east coast so I decided to make my own version at home and, guess what…..it’s even better than the original. 

This Pesto Cavatappi pasta recipe is made with just a handful of readily available ingredients and can be whipped up pretty quickly for a simple weeknight dinner. This is definitely a meal the whole family will approve of.

Close up shot of cavatappi pasta with pesto in a white bowl.

What is Cavatappi pasta?

Cavatappi is the Italian word for corkscrew so any type of spiral pasta would work well in this recipe. Cavatappi pasta is also know as Cellantani, tortiglione and amore. 

Cavatappi is a type of macaroni with a hole through the center of the spiral and is made without eggs. The hollow, spiral shape is great for soaking up the flavorful pesto sauce it is tossed with.

Pesto Cavatappi being served from a skillet into a white bowl.

How do you make Pesto Cavatappi?

My Noodles and Company copycat Pesto Cavatappi is so super simple to make. All you need are the following ingredients:

  • Cavatappi pasta
  • olive oil
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • Dry White Wine (optional)
  • Chicken Stock  
  • Basil Pesto
  • Half and Half
  • Parmesan Cheese

The original Noodles and Company recipe uses heavy cream according to my sources BUT I wanted to shave off a few calories so I substituted the cream with half and half, which is just a lighter form of cream. (Half and half is actually a combination of half milk and half cream.) I didn’t notice a difference in flavor but the sauce was definitely not as heavy as when I use cream.

Also, I love to use my own homemade Basil Pesto recipe for this but in a pinch, your favorite jarred pesto sauce will work well. If you want to mix things up a bit you can also try this easy Sage Pesto or my new favorite Radish Pesto!

The Very Best Basil Pesto Sauce in a glass jar with a wooden spoon on a blue background with basil leaves in the background from TheSuburbanSoapbox.com

To make Pesto Cavatappi:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (approximately 4 quarts) and cook the pasta to al dente. 
  2. Drain the pasta and set aside reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip the mushrooms and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and chicken stock to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
  6. Stir in the pesto and half and half. Turn the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened.
  7. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. 
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil, if desired.
  9. Serve immediately.

I like to serve my Pesto Cavatappi with a fresh green salad or freshly baked popovers to dip in any leftover sauce.

We definitely like to whip up this easy cavatappi pasta dish at least once a week. It’s perfect for busy weeknights because it’s a one post dinner you can get on the table in minutes.

Overhead shot of pesto cavatappi pasta in a white bowl with a blue and white striped fork.

If you’re looking for even more easy pasta recipes, try these reader favorites:

Baked Tortellini al forno in a blue and white casserole with a spoon scooping a serving out and melty stretchy cheese.

Want even more easy family recipes? Follow us on Instagram!

Pesto Cavatappi on a white bowl with a blue background and blue and white striped fork.

Easy Pesto Cavatappi Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: baked pasta, pasta, pesto cavatappi
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 508 kcal
Author: Kellie

The original Noodles & Company copycat Pesto Cavatappi pasta recipe you can make at home....and it's even better!

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes cut in half
  • 8 ounces Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine optional
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • 3/4 cup Basil Pesto
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (approximately 4 quarts) and cook the pasta to al dente.
  2. Drain the pasta and set aside reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip the mushrooms and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and chicken stock to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
  6. Stir in the pesto and half and half.
  7. Turn the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
  9. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil, if desired.Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Pesto Cavatappi Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 508 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 387mg 16%
Potassium 391mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 62g 21%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 15g 30%
Vitamin A 18.7%
Vitamin C 5.3%
Calcium 13.9%
Iron 8.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

6 comments on “Easy Pesto Cavatappi Recipe”

  1. I love pastas with pesto! This looks so creamy & tasty! I will have to add to the menu!

  2. Love the recipe and all the topping that you put in the pasta!

  3. Pasta and pesto is oh so good! 

  4. Pasta is always a winner in our house! Love that I can stay on budget and just make this at home vs getting takeout without losing any of the delicious flavor. Thank you. 

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