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


  1. 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.
  2. Chiffonade (thinly slice) the remaining 1 oz of basil and set aside. This will be used to top the pasta.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.