Creamy Pesto Pasta

This creamy pesto pasta is just what you need for your next summer BBQ.

Overhead view of pesto pasta in a baking dish.

There’s no denying that I am a pasta girl and my long time favorite flavor on that pasta is PESTO! 

The strong flavors of basil, garlic, and parmesan just cannot be beat! I love adding sun-dried tomatoes and even more parmesan for an explosion of flavors. Plus, we add evaporated milk to give this pasta a twist. 

If you need to bring a dish to your next get together, you don’t need to look any further! It’s easy to make the night before and then the day of, you just give it a little toss and add more parmesan and black pepper and you’re out the door!

Pesto pasta in plates.

Tips for success – 

  1. Don’t overcook your pasta! I always boil for the minimum of the recommended time. Remember that it’s going to cook a little more once the pasta has been tossed with the pesto, so you want it to be juuuuust al dente when you remove from boiling water.
  2. Don’t overcook the sauce! This pasta dish is QUICK. The flavors are so bold that unlike other dishes, this one doesn’t need time for the flavors to meld. Once the pesto sauce starts to simmer, add in your pasta and go go go. 
  3. Don’t skimp on the salt or parmesan! Especially if you will be enjoying this cold, you need to remember that cold foods need MORE seasoning. If you don’t add in enough salt, it’ll be bland and you’ll be sad. 
Kait serving a plate of pesto pasta.

How to store – 

Once you have made the creamy pesto pasta, let it come to room temperature and then transfer in an airtight container to the fridge. It will stay good in the fridge for a week, but it’s the tastiest in the first 4 days. 

Overhead view of pesto pasta in plates.

Frequently Asked Questions –

Can I use my homemade pesto for this recipe?

Absolutely!! Use 6 oz. of your homemade pesto.

Will this pasta work with pasta alternatives? 

This pasta will be just as delicious with any chickpea pasta or gluten free pasta. I don’t know how it would do with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash as those tend to be more watery. 

Can my toddler eat this pasta?

Yes, they can! You may be surprised that your toddler likes pesto. Madeline loves it! 

Do I have to be at a BBQ to enjoy this?

No, you can also just eat this pasta while watching Netflix. Although I think it tastes better outside with friends.

View of a toddler grabbing a cherry tomato from the pesto pasta plate.

Ok, I made it. What else should I make?

Overhead view of pesto pasta in a plate.

Creamy Pesto Pasta

the perfect side to bring to your next BBQ!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American


  • 1 lb. box farfalle bow-tie pasta
  • 6 oz. jar basil pesto
  • ½ – 6 oz. jar sun-dried tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic smashed
  • 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • Cranks of black pepper


  • In a 5 quart pot, bring water to boil and boil pasta according to box. I always boil for the minimum amount listed for time range.
  • Strain pasta BUT keep ¼ cup of pasta water.
  • In the same pot, add in pesto, sundried tomatoes, garlic, evaporated milk, and salt and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly.
  • Add in pasta water and stir to combine, bring back to a slow simmer and then add in penne pasta and toss.
  • Turn off heat, top pasta with a few cranks of black pepper and add in parmesan cheese.
  • Toss gently to combine and then either serve warm or bring to room temperature and chill in refrigerator.
  • When serving cold, top with more black pepper and parmesan cheese if desired.
  • This pasta can be enjoyed warm or cold, but I like it cold for summer!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Heather Taylor says:

    This looks incredible. Can’t wait to try!

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