Cheesy Pesto Cream Pasta
This checks ALL of the comfort food boxes. It’s creamy and comforting and cheesy, and sneaks in some veggies with pesto made from spinach and basil. I prefer it with pappardelle or linguine because I love slurping noodles covered in sauce but use whatever pasta you have available.
- 1 16-oz package pasta
- 4 oz fresh spinach (typically half of a bag)
- 4 oz fresh basil, divided
- 4 oz freshly shredded mozzarella
- 2 gloves minced garlic
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp AP flour
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- Freshly cracked pepper and sea salt
- Freshly grated parmesan, for serving
- In a food processor or blender, add the spinach, 3 oz of basil, garlic, water, and a large pinch of salt. Pulse and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is finely minced and fully incorporated. Set aside.
- Chiffonade (thinly slice) the remaining 1 oz of basil and set aside. This will be used to top the pasta.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes (we’re making a roux to thicken the sauce). Once the mixture bubbles and thins, slowly add the milk while whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the mozzarella cheese. Once the mozzarella is fully melted, add in the spinach and basil mixture. Stir to incorporate. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to package directions (to al dente). Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a tbsp or two of pasta water if needed to thin out the sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan, freshly cracked pepper and sea salt. Serve immediately.