Friday, June 27, 2014

Pesto Cream Pasta.

[Originally posted here on April 5, 2014.]

Confession: When it comes to cooking, I like to cheat.

There are some things that are better made from scratch (like pizza dough), but if I can take a shortcut by using something pre-made, or dried instead of fresh (I killed all my herb plants), I tend to do it. It's easier, and often cheaper, and those are things I value more highly than making a dish taste marginally better by sticking to a complicated or labor-intensive recipe.

I still remember the day I discovered The Pioneer Woman. I was still in the "PIN ALL THE THINGS!!" phase of my Pinterest relationship, and I admit I went a little nuts. I even went so far as to print off several pages of cut-and-paste recipes gleaned from her website, some of which I managed to maintain the momentum to actually try within the week. One of those was her Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce.

Pesto Cream Pasta.

I love pasta alfredo, but my hubby finds it too plain, so the pesto in this dish gives it that extra kick of flavor.

I'm sure it's better her way. But making pesto from scratch? Fresh basil is pricey, and homegrown, in my house, is, well, dead. (Seriously. Black thumb here.) And pine nuts? I think that was the deciding factor in going with jarred pesto instead of attempting to make it myself, because I have no idea what aisle the pine nuts are in at the grocery store. (And I really am lazy enough for that to scare me away.) So I cheated.

I'm glad I did. Simpler works better for me, and this dish is still really good.

Here's what you'll need:


  • 8-12 oz pasta (we like veggie pasta)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp jarred pesto

Cook pasta according to package directions. (I went with about 8 0z this night--for me, the amount depends on whether this is the main course or a side.)

Most things that start with butter and heavy cream end well.

While the pasta cooks, heat the butter and heavy cream over medium-low heat.

(I get so bored waiting for things to melt or boil. Not a patient person.)

Once the butter has melted, add the pesto and parmesan.

Stir to mix.

When the pasta's done...

...drain it.

You know how when you make a sauce, and then pour it over something, there's always quite a bit remaining, clinging to the sides and bottom of the saucepan and refusing to drip out at a reasonable rate? (Again, not a patient person.) There are two ways around this: either dump the pasta into the sauce (instead of the sauce onto the pasta), or...

Dump two-thirds of the pasta back into the pot it cooked in (or into a serving dish), and pour the sauce over it. Dump the remaining third of pasta into the sauce pot, stir to coat...

...add it to the rest of the pasta and sauce. No sauce wasted!

Pouring the pasta into the sauce is simpler, but I always end up cooking the pasta in the bigger saucepan and the sauce in the smaller one, and I've learned the messy way that there is not room to stir the pasta and sauce in my small one.

And there you go! Easy pasta, but not alfredo-boring. I love it!

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce
  • 8-12 oz pasta
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp jarred pesto
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  2. Heat cream and butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add pesto and parmesan; stir.
  4. Toss pasta in pesto cream sauce.
Enjoy! (And if you have time to try it the "real" way, I'd love to hear from you how they compare!)

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