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Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

This vegetarian pasta dish with mushrooms and artichokes is covered in a delicious pesto cream sauce and makes for a quick and healthy weeknight meal! Try it with homemade basil pesto for a vibrant and fresh dinner!

Pasta with pesto cream sauce is one of my favorite recipes to make on weeknights when we need to throw something together in a hurry. It’s the perfect combination of fresh and savory and makes for a meal that’s both healthy and filling!

A lot of the recipes I make take a bit of planning — buying specific ingredients and making sure I have the right spices in my cupboard. This is not one of those recipes! While this version calls for mushrooms and artichokes, we’ll often use whatever veggies we have in our fridge so feel free to add brussel sprouts, asparagus or whatever else you have on hand. Looking to add a bit more protein? Chicken makes an excellent addition to this pasta dish! Can’t find arugula at your grocery store? Go with spinach instead!

plate of pasta with pesto cream sauce

pesto cream sauce

While you can switch up the veggies in this easy pasta dish, there’s no substitute for the delicious pesto cream sauce! The rich sauce is incredibly simple and consists of just pesto, a bit of heavy cream and parmesan. The creaminess of the sauce is perfect for us, but you could also lighten it up if you want. To do so, just alter the proportions of cream to pesto — add a bit more pesto and omit some of the cream!

Although we often make the sauce with store-bought pesto during the winter months, there’s nothing better than fresh pesto to liven up your pasta! You can use homemade basil pesto or create your own mixture using other combinations of leafy greens and nuts.

Looking for more quick weeknight dinners? Try these!

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plate of pasta with pesto cream sauce

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 25 minutes
    • Category: Dinner
    • Method: Stovetop
    • Cuisine: Italian


  • 8 ounces (230 grams) short cut pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces (230 grams) button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 12 ounce (340 gram) jar artichoke hearts
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup (70 grams) basil pesto
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • kosher salt to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • pine nuts (optional) to garnish


  1. Mince the garlic, slice the mushrooms and chop the artichoke hearts.
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until browned or for about 10-15 minutes. Try not to stir too often so they get nice and crispy!
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
  5. Stir the minced garlic in with the mushrooms and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Add the artichokes and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and stir for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce has slightly thickened.
  7. Reduce heat and stir in the pesto and arugula. Cook until the arugula has wilted.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan.
  9. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
  10. Toss the pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.

Keywords: pesto cream sauce

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