This creamy pesto pasta bake is extra creamy and cheesy, made in one baking pan, and doesn't require kitchen skills!
This pasta bake is a super delicious pasta dish that is made in under an hour and tastes like restaurant pasta!
This pasta pesto bake is perfect for pesto lovers! It is made with al dente pasta that is smothered in nutty pesto, cheeses, and spices, and baked to perfection.
Why this recipe works
- Leftover cooked pasta- It's perfect when you have leftover cooked pasta.
- Time- This recipe is perfect when you need a quick meal with minimal effort.
- Pasta cravings- Is awesome when you are craving a deliciously creamy and cheesy pasta dish.
- Foolproof- Perfect when you don't know how to cook or have kitchen skills but want to impress a special someone.
- Use leftover homemade pesto- When you want to use leftover pesto and don't know how to use it.
Before you start to make this recipe, measure and prepare your ingredients so the cooking process will go smoothly and easily.
Full measurements are in the recipe card below.
Cooked pasta- we used penne pasta in this recipe, but you can use any kind of pasta that you’d like.
Heavy cream- we used heavy cream in this recipe to make the pasta extra creamy and cheesy.
Mozarella- we used store-bought grated mozzarella cheese, but you can use fresh mozzarella cheese, or grate it yourself. You will need 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese.
Garlic- you will need about 2 garlic cloves for this recipe. we use fresh garlic and grate it by hand. We do not recommend using store-bought pre-grated garlic, because it usually has less flavor.
Chili flakes- for extra flavor, you can also use cayenne pepper. Add it to your taste.
Pesto- we used store-bought pesto, but you can definitely use homemade pesto.
Parmesan- you will need grated parmesan cheese.
Baby spinach- we used baby spinach for this recipe, but regular spinach will work great as well.
Salt- we like to use kosher salt for this recipe.
Black pepper- for flavor.
Preheat the oven to 200c (400f). And cook the pasta according to the package instructions. We suggest cooking the pasta al dente because the pasta cooks more when baked.
In a 13x9 inch baking dish, add the cooked pasta, basil pesto, minced garlic, parmesan, chili flakes, salt and pepper, heavy cream, and the baby spinach, and carefully mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well combined.
Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese on top, we like to use it a lot, but you are free to use it as much as you like.
Bake the pasta in a 200c (400f) preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly golden brown on top.
Serve by itself or next to your favorite protein or salad and enjoy!
- Make the pasta in salted water. this will make sure that the pasta flavor isn't flat. add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water.
- Cook the pasta to al dente. to stop the pasta from turning soggy from the juices, cook the pasta al dente. this step will keep your pasta salad fresh and delicious
- Use fresh ingredients! this pasta bake is the perfect vegetarian dish for any occasion!
- Add your favorite add-ins like cooked broccoli, cooked chicken, fresh spinach, fresh basil, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cooked shrimp, etc.
- Rinse the pasta with cold water when it's ready! This step ensures that the pasta will remain al dente and won't continue to cook.
We made this pasta dish with penne pasta, but any kind of pasta is supposed to work great for this recipe. Try to use short pasta for the best results.
Yes! You can use any kind of your favorite pasta kinds and pasta shapes, like chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta, spinach pasta, quinoa pasta, etc.
Yes. It is very easy to make this recipe vegan, simply replace the cheese and cream with vegan cheese and cream.
Absolutely! If you want extra protein in your pasta bake, you can add cooked chicken, grilled chicken, and shredded chicken, and simply mix it with the rest of the ingredients and bake according to the instructions.
Store this pasta dish in the fridge. Cover it with a plastic wrap tightly or place it in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
If you would like to freeze this pasta bake, you totally can! Simply make it and bake it according to the instructions, let it cool to room temperature, and either place it in an airtight container or cover it with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 2 months.
Make sure that you are using a freezer-friendly container.
Reheat this pasta dish either in the microwave in small portions, or the whole dish in a 180c (350f) preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
Whole grain- You can use any kind of your favorite pasta kinds and pasta shapes. Like chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta, spinach pasta, quinoa pasta, etc.
Gluten-free- you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. Simply follow the instructions as written.
Pesto- you can use your favorite pesto for this recipe. It doesn't have to be basil pesto, it can be spinach pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto, red pepper pesto, parsley pesto, etc.
Chicken- If you want extra protein in your pasta dish, you can add cooked chicken, cast iron chicken, or shredded chicken, and simply mix it with the rest of the ingredients and bake according to the instructions.
Spicy- if you like your pasta spicier, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or more chili flakes!
Extra creamy- make this pasta dish creamier by adding 50 g of cream cheese to the sauce.
More pasta recipes
Tiktok Baked Feta Pasta– This baked feta pasta is incredibly delicious and easy to make. This pasta dish went viral in Finland, and because of this recipe, the grocery stores in Finland ran out of feta cheese.
Basil pesto sauce- If you're looking for a simple sauce with herbs look no further than this creamy basil pesto sauce that will add flavor to pasta and proteins!
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Creamy Pesto Pasta Bake
- 400 g Cooked pasta
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 2-3 Garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon Chili flakes
- 1 cup Baby spinach
- ½ cup Pesto
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 ½ cups Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat an oven to 200c (400f). And cook the pasta according to the package instructions. We suggest cooking the pasta to al dente because the pasta cooks more when bakes.
- In a 13×9 inch baking pan, add the cooked pasta, basil pesto, minced garlic, parmesan, chili flakes, salt and pepper, heavy cream, and the baby spinach, and carefully mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well combined.
- Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese on top, we like to use it a lot, but you are free to use it as much as you like.
- Bake the pasta in a 200c (400f) preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly golden brown on top.
- Serve by itself or next to your favorite protein or salad and enjoy!