how to make creamy pesto sauce for pasta | Family Cuisine

This creamy pesto sauce is a great way to use up leftover basil and nuts. It's perfect with pasta or as a spread on crostini.

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How to make creamy pesto sauce for pasta

For a super easy creamy fettuccine pasta dish, add pesto to a cream sauce. You only need a handful of simple ingredients for this creamy pesto sauce, and it’s ready in about 20 minutes. It’s perfect for a quick dinner when you’re craving pasta.

I’m no stranger to pasta recipes, and quick and simple pasta dishes are among my most favorite recipes on this site. And, today, a new one: creamy pesto sauce with fettuccine.

Reading: how to make creamy pesto sauce for pasta

Like the others, this pesto pasta recipe is easy – 20 minutes easy. It’s basically a doctored-up Americanized Alfredo sauce, so it’s rich, creamy, and cheesy.

The pesto adds a punch of brightness that balances out the richness. It’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself.


  • Use a long pasta shape like fettuccine, spaghetti, bucatini, or linguini.
  • Butter and heavy cream is the sauce base.
  • Basil pesto – you can use homemade fresh basil pesto or store-bought to make it really easy.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese brings the cheesiness.
  • Fresh parsely and lemon juice adds a pop of freshness

How to Make It

You can make the pesto sauce while the pasta is boiling. It’s quick and easy!

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the cream and whisk to combine. Once the cream is warmed up add the pesto and whisk again.

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Cook the sauce for a minute or two – don’t let it boil. Add the parsley and Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.

You can keep the sauce on medium-low heat if you’re still waiting on the pasta to cook. Just give it a whisk every so often.

Once the fettuccine is al dente, drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce. Use tongs to toss it in the pesto cream sauce. It’s okay if a little of the pasta water transfers over with the fettuccine – it will just add to the sauce.

Add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, toss again, and serve. It’s best enjoyed when it’s made.

Change It Up

What I love about this recipe is that you can use any kind of pesto, so it’s easy to switch up. I’ve seen lots of different kinds available at the grocery store or you can make a homemade pesto.

  • Roasted Garlic Pesto – I love the flavor of roasted garlic in this version.
  • Spinach Parsely Pesto – A fresh and light pesto made with spinach, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and asiago cheese.
  • Beet Tops Pesto – This a great way to use beet greens so they don’t go to waste.
  • For even more ideas browse my Pesto Recipes recipe round-up.

You can also add a protein like cooked chicken or shrimp to make it more filling. If you do, cook it before you make the sauce and then add the cooked chicken or shrimp to the sauce at the end with the pasta.

Or, to make it really easy – just toss in some shredded rotisserie chicken at the end.

Serve It with a Side Dish

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Because its so rich, this recipe makes four servings on the smaller side. So, adding a side dish is a good idea.

  • I love some carbs on carbs so some crusty bread is always good.
  • Or, keep things light with a tossed salad with a tangy dressing.
  • Add a veggie like roasted broccoli, sautéed green beans, or roasted zucchini.

Or skip the side and treat yourself to a double serving. Just an idea.

fettuccine added to the pan with the sauce

So simple and so delicious. I hope you give this creamy pesto sauce a try!

Happy Cooking,

More Alfredo Recipes

If you like this creamy pesto Alfredo, you need to try some of my other favorite pasta sauce recipes, too:

  • Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo | A rich and creamy roasted red pepper pasta – the sauce is made with just five simple ingredients!
  • Fettuccine Alfredo | This a classic and ready in 15 minutes.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo |You’re only five ingredients away from this comforting pasta dish. Plus, it takes less than 30 minutes to go from pan to plate.

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe along with your recipe star rating.


The nutrition information in this recipe is an estimate only and was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

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