Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (2024)

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There’s so much to love about springy pasta, creamy pesto sauce, and bright diced tomatoes, so it’s no wonder Pesto Cavatappi is Noodles and Company’s most popular dish. Here’s the perfected copycat recipe that’s faster, less expensive, and maybe even just a little more delicious.

Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (1)

This is one of my absolute favorite quick dinners to make, whether or not I’m pressed for time. It used to be my standing order at Noodles and Company, but now that I don’t live anywhere near one, I set about figuring out how to crack the cavatappi code and make it myself.

And that’s just what I did! Because when you can’t get to a Noodles, you have to bring the Noodles to you.The basil pesto flavor mixed with heavy cream is just to die for, and if you toss it over cavatappi noodles, nothing is better!

Table of Contents

  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Recipe ingredients

Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (2)

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Cavatappi: You can substitute rotini, rigatoni, bow-tie, or any small or medium-sized pasta.
  • Mushrooms:Noodles & Company puts them in, but you can leave them out.
  • White wine: Choose a dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. Or, leave the wine out and substitute more chicken broth.
  • Pesto: Make homemade pesto in your blender with fresh basil, parsley, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and a nut. Pine nut pesto is classic but Walnut pesto is really great too and a little cheaper to make. Store-bought pesto is fine too!

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts of water and salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes and mushrooms (if using) and cook for about 5 minutes, until some of the liquid has been released and the tomatoes are heated through.
Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (3)
  1. Stir in the broth, wine, and cream and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (4)
  1. Add pesto and stir until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (5)
  1. Add pasta and toss until uniformly coated in the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (6)

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups of pasta, enough for 8 first-course or side dish servings or 4 extremely generous bowls of pesto pasta.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Vegetarian: Substitute pasta cooking water for the chicken broth. The starches in the pasta water make the recipe even creamier.
  • Chicken: Cut up chicken breasts into chunks and add it to the olive oil before you add the tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Shrimp: Add them to the skillet with the mushrooms and tomatoes to cook (they cook quickly).
  • Zucchini noodles: Super healthy dinner ahead! Get the sauce made and stir in raw zucchini ribbons. Serve when the zucchini is just warm. Don’t overcook it, because zucchini tastes best as pasta when it still has a little crunch.
  • More mix-ins: Black olives, fresh spinach or kale, or chopped sun-dried tomatoes are all tasty options. Throw in whole grape tomatoes to save on prep time, and add pinches of red pepper flakes for spice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you serve with pesto cavatappi?

Wedges of fresh Focaccia bread would be absolutely delicious, but if you’re looking for something lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein, try a side of simple grilled chicken or steak. You can really balance out the meal that way (and maybe even avoid a food coma!).

What is the pasta called cavatappi?

Cavatappi is a cork-screw-shaped, hollow pasta.

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Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (11)

Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Company Copycat)

By Meggan Hill

There’s so much to love about springy pasta, creamy pesto sauce, and bright diced tomatoes, so it’s no wonder Pesto Cavatappi is Noodles and Company’s most popular dish. Here’s the perfected copycat recipe that’s faster, less expensive, and maybe even just a little more delicious.

Prep Time 3 minutes mins

Cook Time 12 minutes mins

Total Time 15 minutes mins

Servings 8 servings (1 cup each)

Course Main Course

Cuisine American, Italian

Calories 423

5 from 158 votes

ReviewPrint

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts of water and salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes and mushrooms (if using) and cook for about 5 minutes, until some of the liquid has been released and the tomatoes are heated through.

  • Stir in the broth, wine, and cream and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

  • Add pesto and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta and toss until uniformly coated in the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Cavatappi: You can substitute rotini, rigatoni, bow-tie, or any small or medium-sized pasta.
  2. Mushrooms:Noodles & Company puts them in, but you can leave them out.
  3. White wine: Choose a dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. Or, leave the wine out and substitute more chicken broth.
  4. Pesto: Make homemade pesto in your blender with fresh basil, parsley, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and a nut. Pine nut pesto is classic but Walnut pesto is really great too and a little cheaper to make. Store-bought pesto is fine too!
  5. Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups of pasta, enough for 8 first-course or side dish servings or 4 extremely generous bowls of pasta.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cupCalories: 423kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 14gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 1397mgPotassium: 251mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1022IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 219mgIron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill

Meggan Hill

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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

Make Your Own Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Co. Copycat Recipe) (2024)
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