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This creamy tomato pesto sauce is one of my favorite sauces in the whole wide world! Why?
First, there’s classic pesto sauce. Then, there’s cream. Throw in some rich tomato flavor and you’ve got the silkiest, dreamiest tomato pesto cream sauce you’ve ever had.
This creamy sauce is so easy to make that it’s perfect for busy weeknights, yet also lovely for a special weekend meal. And it’s one that the whole family will love. Let’s make it!
What’s in this Creamy Tomato Pesto Pasta
- Pasta. Choose your favorite pasta shape for this homemade sauce. Short cut pasta like cellentani, fusilli and penne are great options. You could also go with a flat pasta shape like fettuccini or pappardelle.
- Fresh basil
- Tomato paste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Heavy whipping cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Pine Nuts. These are optional, but if you have them, use them to incorporate a subtle nuttiness to the homemade pesto sauce.
How to Make Creamy Tomato Pesto Pasta
Cook the Pasta
Cook your favorite pasta according to the al dente instructions on the package.
And remember to reserve some of the pasta water before you drain the pasta. I always forget to do this!
The pasta water is important in this recipe because it will help to thin out the thick sauce at the end.
Make the Homemade Pesto Sauce
While you can certainly use store-bought pesto in this recipe, it only takes a handful of simple ingredients to make fresh pesto in your blender.
Making your own pesto is easy!
Put the fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper and pine nuts (if using) into a blender. Now, just puree them until they’re smooth. It’s that simple.
Make the pesto cream sauce
Put your pesto sauce into a large skillet or saucepan. Heat it gently, then stir in the tomato paste and cream.
This is the time to whisk in that reserved pasta water to make a really silky smooth sauce.
Now, just add your cooked pasta to the sauce and you’re ready to enjoy!
How to Serve this Tomato Pesto Cream Sauce Recipe
This is one of those simple pasta dishes that doesn’t need much more than a glass of red or white wine to be a perfect meal. But here are some suggestions to round it out:
1. Garlic bread. Bake or toast some crusty bread and rub a fresh garlic clove on the warm surface to infuse it with a delightful garlic flavor. Serve the garlic bread alongside your pasta to mop up every last bit of sauce. It’s the perfect combination of crunchy and creamy.
2. Salad. Balance the richness of the creamy pasta with a fresh green salad. A simple salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the pasta’s flavors.
3. Roasted tomatoes. Enhance the tomato flavor in your creamy tomato pesto pasta by adding roasted cherry or grape tomatoes. Roasting tomatoes caramelizes their sugars and intensifies their sweetness, creating a burst of flavor with each bite.
4. Chicken. Add some extra protein by incorporating grilled or roasted chicken. Lightly seasoning the chicken is all it needs, and it will soak up the rest of the pasta flavors.
Can you use store-bought pesto sauce in this recipe?
To make this recipe even quicker and easier, you can use premade pesto sauce. It can almost always be found at your local grocery store.
I do recommend that you make your own pesto sauce, because it truly is so easy and the fresh flavor cannot be beat. Homemade basil pesto can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for months, and you’ll never run out of ways to enjoy it!
Find my favorite recipe for homemade pesto sauce here.
How to Store This Creamy Pesto Pasta Sauce
If you are storing the sauce and the pasta together, place them in an airtight container. The pasta will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several days.
If you choose to store the sauce on its own, it will stay fresh in an airtight container for several days in the fridge, OR freeze it for months in a freezer safe bag!
When you make this creamy tomato pesto pasta recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more delicious pasta sauce recipes, try these:
- Easy Creamy Blush Sauce (Pink Pasta Sauce Recipe)
- Spicy Cajun Alfredo Sauce
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
For more recipes using pesto sauce, try these:
- Cheesy Baked Pesto Pasta Recipe
- Butter Board Recipe with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
- Cold Pesto Pasta Salad
Creamy Tomato Pesto Pasta Recipe (Homemade Sauce)
- 1 lb. pasta
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp. pine nuts
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain.
- Puree the basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Add pesto sauce to a large pot or skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the tomato paste and cream and simmer until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Use reserved pasta water to thin the sauce, if desired.
- Add cooked pasta back into the skillet and toss to combine. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.