Pesto Shrimp Pasta

I’ve been experimenting with shrimp a lot lately. Yes, it can be a little on the expensive side, but if you pair it whith an inexpensive ingredient like pasta, you can really stretch that dollar and work it into an affordable meal. This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is an incredibly easy (and FAST) recipe that will […]

The post Pesto Shrimp Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve been experimenting with shrimp a lot lately. Yes, it can be a little on the expensive side, but if you pair it whith an inexpensive ingredient like pasta, you can really stretch that dollar and work it into an affordable meal. This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is an incredibly easy (and FAST) recipe that will make you feel like you’re eating a restaurant quality meal at home. So even if shrimp is just a once in a while special occasion splurge, you’ll still be saving a TON by making this splurge at home instead of having it at a restaurant!

Originally posted 12-28-2010, updated 8-27-2020.

Overhead view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a black fork in the middle

This recipe was originally posted in 2010. When updating this recipe I made only minor changes to the recipe yield, ingredient quantities, and preparation method. If you prefer the old recipe, you can reach out to us at support@budgetbytes.com and we can send you a pdf of the old version.

What Kind of Shrimp is Best for Pesto Shrimp Pasta

A smaller sized shrimp works best for this recipe so you get more shrimp pieces throughout the pasta. If you check your package of shrimp you’ll see a number range specifying the number of shrimp per pound. The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp (more shrimp per pound). The shrimp I used were 41-60 size, or 41-60 shrimp per pound.

You can purchase your shrimp with or without the shell and tail, but you’ll want to remove the shell and tail before cooking. You can leave the tail on, but I find that tail-on shrimp is more difficult to eat in a dish like pasta because you have to stop and remove the tail with every bite.

This recipe is written for raw (frozen or fresh) shrimp, but you can use pre-cooked shrimp if that’s what you have available. To use pre-cooked shrimp, simply add them into the pasta at the end.

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp

If you know you’ll be making this recipe a head of time, you can transfer your shrimp from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. If you didn’t plan ahead, don’t worry! Shrimp thaws very quickly under running water. I just place my shrimp in a colander and run cool water over the shrimp for a few minutes until it has thawed. Once thawed and peeled, make sure to dab the shrimp dry with paper towel.

Can I Substitute the Shrimp?

If you’re not into shrimp, this recipe would also be good using diced chicken, sea scallops, or even chopped artichoke hearts! 

Tips for Cooking Shrimp

Shrimp can be intimidating for people who have never cooked it before, but I promise it’s very easy! The trick is that shrimp cooks very quickly and if you continue to cook it longer than necessary, the proteins will continue to contract leaving you with tough, rubbery shrimp. So watch your shrimp closely and remove them from the skillet just as soon as they turn pink and opaque. It only takes a few minutes (depending on the shrimp’s size and the heat level under the skillet)!

What Kind of Pesto to Use

Pesto is another ingredient that can be pricy if you don’t shop around. I used pesto from ALDI, which is very affordable, but if you don’t have an ALDI store near you check to see if your grocery store has their own store brand, or look for Classico or Barilla brand pesto, which usually tends to be a bit more affordable. I used basil pesto for this pasta, but I bet it would also be great with other flavors!

Overhead view of the skillet full of pesto shrimp pasta

 
Overhead view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a black fork in the center

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a restaurant quality meal that you can make in under 30 minutes! The perfect quick weeknight meal.
Total Cost $8.07 recipe / $2.02 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 446.23kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined $4.99
  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.24
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.49
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $0.55
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.11

Instructions

  • If using frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and run cool water over top to thaw (this should only take a few minutes). Peel the shrimp and remove the tails. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about seven minutes). Reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the prepared shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp turns pink and opaque (2-3 minutes). Remove the cooked shrimp to a clean bowl.
  • Add another tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and add the grape tomatoes and minced garlic. Continue to sauté over medium until the tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices. If the garlic begins to brown before the tomatoes have burst, add a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet to slow the browning.
  • Once the tomatoes have broken down in the skillet, add the cooked and drained pasta, ¼ cup pesto, and about half of the reserved pasta water. Stir to coat everything in the pesto, adding more of the pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta and spread the pesto over everything.
  • Finally, return the cooked shrimp to the skillet and stir to combine with the pasta. Top with grated Parmesan, then serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 446.23kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.3g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 15.58g | Sodium: 602.68mg | Fiber: 3.78g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Try These Other Budget-Friendly Shrimp Recipes:

Front view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a fork twirling the pasta in the center

How to Make Pesto Shrimp Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Shrimp Package

This is the shrimp I used. 41-60 size (that means 41-60 shrimp per pound) and this is a 12oz. bag. To thaw the shrimp I placed them in a colander and ran cool water over them for a few minutes, or until they were thawed enough to peel and remove the tails. Once thawed, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove the excess water.

A measuring cup scooping out starchy pasta water from the pot

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. angel hair pasta to the pot and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander. You can begin cooking the shrimp while the pasta boils.

Cooked shrimp in a skillet

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet and oil are hot, add the shrimp and sauté just until they are pink and opaque (2-3 minutes), then remove them from the skillet to a clean bowl. Make sure not to over cook them!

Grape tomatoes and garlic in the skillet

Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the pint of grape tomatoes and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté the garlic and tomatoes over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to burst and break down.

Cooked grape tomatoes

If the tomatoes are not very ripe they may take a while to burst, so if your garlic begins to brown before the tomatoes start releasing their juices, you can add a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent the garlic from browning. The juices from the tomatoes will create a sweet jam-like sauce on the bottom of the skillet.

Cooked pasta and pesto added to the skillet with tomatoes and garlic

Once the tomatoes are at least half way broken down, add the cooked and drained pasta, ¼ cup pesto, and about half of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Stir to coat everything in the pesto, adding more of the starchy pasta water if needed to loosen things up and help the pesto spread.

Cooked shrimp added to the pasta

Finally, return the cooked shrimp back to the skillet and stir to combine with the pasta and pesto.

finished pesto shrimp pasta in the skillet

I like to add just a little (about 1 Tbsp) grated Parmesan on top, and you can add some chopped parsley for color if you’d like (it’s not necessary for the flavor).

Overhead view of a finished bowl of pesto shrimp pasta with a fork on the side

Enjoy! (A little extra freshly cracked pepper on top doesn’t hurt, and if you’re into spicy try adding a pinch of crushed red pepper!)

The post Pesto Shrimp Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously […]

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I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously rich sauce to smother the pasta, chicken, and broccoli. The pesto provides all the garlic and herbal flavor needed, so there’s no need to even dice an onion, mince garlic, or measure any herbs and spices—it’s already in the sauce! The whole dish cooks very quickly so you can have this one on the dinner table in about 30 minutes.

Originally posted 11-24-2013, updated 8-9-2020.

Creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet, viewed from above

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

Yep! Any short shaped pasta, like penne, rotini, or even macaroni will work fine for this recipe. You can use a longer type pasta, like fettuccine or linguine, but it’s a little harder to stir chunky ingredients, like the chicken and broccoli, into long pasta. Sometimes breaking it in half before cooking can help.

What Kind of Pesto Do You Use?

I used basil pesto from ALDI for this recipe because it’s super affordable. If you don’t have an ALDI store near you, Classico brand pesto and Barilla brand pesto also tend to be very affordable. 

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

If you’re not into cream cheese, you can make a similar creamy sauce by substituting the cream cheese with about a ½ cup heavy cream, or replace both the chicken broth and cream cheese with 1 cup half and half. The sauce will be nice and creamy, but it won’t have that tangy cream cheese flavor that some people are not a fan of. You may need to add a pinch or two of salt at the end if you’re skipping the chicken broth.

Make it a Vegetarian Creamy Pesto Pasta

This Creamy Pesto Pasta can easily be made vegetarian. Just use a little extra broccoli, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and you’re good to go!

Front view of a bowl of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a fork lifting one bite

 
A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

A super fast creamy pesto sauce drenches tender pasta, chicken breast, and broccoli for an easy weeknight dinner.
Total Cost $5.48 recipe / $1.37 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 606.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bow tie pasta $0.67
  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli florets $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.12
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast $2.49
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto $0.73
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.40

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once it reaches a full boil, add the pasta and continue to boil just until the pasta is tender, but still slightly firm in the center (7-8 minutes). Once the pasta is tender, add the frozen broccoli florets to the water with the pasta and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and continue to cook until the outside of the chicken pieces are white, but they're still tender in the center (they will continue to cook as more ingredients are added).
  • Add the chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and allow it to heat through. Once hot, add the cream cheese (cut into small pieces) and pesto. Continue to stir and cook until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth, creamy sauce with the pesto and chicken broth.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir to coat it in the cream sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 606.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.58g | Protein: 37.18g | Fat: 28.33g | Sodium: 725.78mg | Fiber: 7.15g

How to Use Your Leftover Pesto

Not sure what to do with the rest of the jar of pesto? Try these recipes:

How to Make Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 8oz. bowtie pasta and continue to boil for 7-8 minutes, or just until it’s tender with a little firmness in the center. Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more or just until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.

Diced chicken breast on an orange cutting board

While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch chunks.

Broth being poured into a skillet with cooked chicken pieces.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the diced chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is white on the outside, but still slightly tender inside (it will continue to cook as more ingredients are added). Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and allow it to heat through.

pesto and cream cheese added to the skillet with the chicken and broth

Add 4oz. cream cheese (cut into small chunks) and ⅓ cup basil pesto to the skillet. 

Smooth and creamy pesto sauce in the skillet

Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth sauce with the pesto and broth. The cream cheese might look a little chunky as it’s melting, but keep stirring and cooking, it will smooth out once fully melted.

Finished creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet with a spatula

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir until it is all coated in the creamy pesto sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or too thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up.

A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

And that’s that! So easy! If you like ranch flavored foods, I think this tangy, garlicky sauce almost tastes ranch-like. So yum!

The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the […]

The post Gochujang Ramen with Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the things I like to add to my instant ramen to give it an upgrade, and now I have a new favorite ingredient—gochujang! This sweet-salty-spicy paste creates a rich broth with plenty of umami that I balanced with some fresh spinach and chunks of mild tofu. This Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to indulge that noodle craving!

Two bowls of gochujang ramen with tofu, a bowl of gochujang on the side

What is Gochujang?

If you’ve never heard of gochujang, it’s a Korean chile paste made with chile peppers, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It kind of reminds me of a spicy version of miso. Gochujang is really starting to trend in the U.S. because of its uniquely sweet-salty-spicy and UMAMI flavor. And because we’re all kind of over our infatuation with sriracha and looking for the next best thing. It’s those fermented soy beans that really set gochujang apart and give whatever you’re adding it to that extra “WOW” factor. So if you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your list!

Where to Buy Gochujang

Because gochujang is really becoming quite popular, you’ll probably be able to find some at most major grocery stores. My local kroger actually carries about 4-5 different kinds! I’m using this Sempio Gochujang. If you have an Asian grocery store near you, you’re sure to find a really good selection there, and probably much better prices. Want to try to make your own? Try this traditional gochujang recipe, or this quickie 5-minute gochujang.

To Use the Ramen Packet or Not to Use the Ramen Packet

Personally, I like to use my own broth when making ramen instead of using the little seasoning packet that comes with the noodles. I like the freedom of tweaking the flavors and salt content, but you can use the seasoning packet if you prefer. Gochujang has quite a bit of salt, so if you do want to use the flavor packet that comes with the instant ramen I suggest adding the gochujang to the water first (3 cups water), then adding a little of the flavor packet at a time until the broth reaches a reasonable salt level for you.

How Spicy is It?

Decently spicy, IMHO. You can reduce the amount of gochujang to make it slightly less spicy, if you prefer. Or, if you’re looking for non-spicy ways to spruce up your ramen, check out my post about 6 Ways to Upgrade Ramen, or my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen.

What Should I Do With my Leftover Tofu?

This recipe uses half of a traditional 14oz. block of tofu. My first choice for using up the other half of the block would be to make a half batch of my Curried Tofu Salad. That stuff is to die for. You could also toss it into a stir fry, or chop it up, add some BBQ sauce and make yourself a BBQ Tofu Slider.

Gochujang ramen with tofu in the sauce pot on a yellow background with a black and white zig-zag napkin.

 
One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

Spicy gochujang gives this instant ramen extra oomph! Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to satisfy that noodle craving.
Total Cost $2.26 recipe / $1.13 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 322.15kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. extra firm tofu $0.90
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 2 cups vegetable broth* $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang $0.46
  • 1 package instant ramen* $0.19
  • 2 cups fresh spinach $0.25
  • 2 green onions $0.20

Instructions

  • Drain the tofu and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Add the water, vegetable broth, and gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang is dissolved.
  • Add the cubed tofu to the pot, place a lid on top, and bring it up to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add the instant ramen noodles (without seasoning). Boil for one to two minutes, or just until the noodles begin to soften and pull loose from each other.
  • Add two handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh spinach and stir it into the hot broth until wilted. The noodles will finish cooking as the spinach wilts.
  • Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top of the ramen just before serving.

Notes

*If using vegetable broth, discard the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodles. If using the seasoning packet, use 3 cups of water instead of 1 cup water and 2 cups vegetable broth. Add the gochujang to the water first, then add a small amount of the seasoning packet at a time until you reach the desired level of saltiness for the broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 322.15kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.55g | Protein: 15.9g | Fat: 12.6g | Sodium: 1347.35mg | Fiber: 3.1g

side view of a bowl of gochujang ramen with chopsticks picking up a piece of tofu

How to Make Gochujang Ramen with Tofu – Step by Step Photos

cubed tofu on a cutting board

Drain a 14oz. block of tofu and cut half of it into ½-inch cubes. See the notes above the recipe for ideas for using the remaining tofu.

Gochujang broth in a small sauce pot with a whisk, tub of gochujang on the side

Add 1 cup water, 2 cups vegetable broth, and 2 Tbsp gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang has dissolved.

Cubed tofu being dropped into the pot

Add the cubed tofu to the pot. Adding the tofu before we start boiling the broth gives it a few minutes to start absorbing some of the flavor from the broth, as opposed to adding it at the end. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth up to a boil over high heat.

Ramen noodles added to the pot, empty package on the side

Once boiling, add the block of instant ramen noodles (without seasoning packet). Let the noodles boil for about a minute, or just until they being to soften up and loosen up from the block.

Spinach added to the pot

Add a couple handfuls of spinach to the pot and stir it in until wilted. This should give the noodles just enough time to finish cooking as well.

Finished gochujang ramen in the pot

Slice two green onions and sprinkle them over the ramen just before serving.

One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Enjoy that spicy goodness!!

The post Gochujang Ramen with Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Y’all know I love one pot pasta meals, and I know a lot of you do too. They’re quick, easy, and pack a lot of flavor into only one little dish that needs to be cleaned at the end. Creamy one pot pastas, in particular, have become my go-to comfort food. This time I paired […]

The post One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Y’all know I love one pot pasta meals, and I know a lot of you do too. They’re quick, easy, and pack a lot of flavor into only one little dish that needs to be cleaned at the end. Creamy one pot pastas, in particular, have become my go-to comfort food. This time I paired the tangy flavor of sun dried tomatoes with garlic and Parmesan for a simple but indulgent One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.

Originally posted 11-1-2015, updated 5-17-2020.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Garlic and Parmesan

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta in a deep skillet with tongs, a bowl with garlic and dry pasta on the side

Changes to the Original Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe:

Many readers were having trouble with the original recipe, so I reformulated it a bit based on my experience creating one pot pastas since this recipe was originally posted (it’s now based on my One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta). In particular, many people were having trouble with their milk curdling or the sauce not coming out smooth. Here is what I changed to create better and more consistent results:

  • The milk is now added after the pasta simmers so the high heat and acidity from the tomatoes will not cause curdling.
  • A small amount of cream cheese is added to the sauce to help stabilize and emulsify the Parmesan into the sauce. 
  • I also added a healthy dose of dried basil for a little more flavor!

If you preferred the original version of this recipe, you can download it here.

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese is great and keeping milk based sauces smooth and to help cheese melt smoothly without clumpig. If you just can’t stand cream cheese, you can replace half of the milk with heavy cream. This reduces the water content in the sauce, which will help the Parmesan emulsify properly.

Can I Add Meat?

Yes, this recipe is extremely flexible and can be made with or without meat. If you’d like to add chicken, you can dice up the chicken and sauté it in the skillet with the garlic in the beginning, or simply add sliced grilled chicken to the finished pasta. Italian sausage might also be great with this sun dried tomato pasta. Simply brown it in the skillet in the beginning with the garlic. Bacon would also be quite tasty. Brown the bacon in the skillet before the garlic, and drain off the excess fat before continuing with the recipe.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pastas:

Getting one pot pastas just right can take some practice, so if you find you’re having trouble, here are a few tips:

  • Stir every few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, or to itself.
  • After the pot has been brought to a boil, turn the heat down to low, or just above low, so the liquid is still simmering. If the liquid is not simmering, the pasta will not cook. The temperature setting can vary depending on your stove top and cookware.
  • Use heavy cookware. Skillets and pots that are thin on the bottom don’t heat evenly and do not yield good results with the one pot cooking method because some areas of the pot will be simmering, while other areas are not.
  • Keep the lid in place at all times when not stirring. This holds in the steam and helps the pasta cook more evenly.
  • Watch the pasta. One pot pastas are a little like riding a bike. You have to observe and adjust as you go. If the liquid is almost all absorbed before the pasta is tender, add a little more water. If the pasta is almost tender, but there is still a lot of liquid, allow it to simmer without a lid for the last couple of minutes.

Close up of tongs picking up a clump of creamy pasta from the skillet

 
Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.
Print

One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

This incredibly fast and easy Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta cooks in 30 minutes and uses just one pot. The perfect quick and satisfying weeknight dinner! 
Total Cost $4.22 recipe / $1.06 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 387.6kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes $1.66
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 8 oz. fettuccine $0.67
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  • 2 cups chicken broth* $0.26
  • 2 oz. cream cheese $0.30
  • 1 cups whole milk $0.37
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.44

Instructions

  • Chop the sun dried tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the butter and garlic to a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute, or until it is very fragrant.
  • Add the fettuccine, dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper, and the chicken broth to the skillet. If needed, break the fettuccine in half to make sure it lays flat in the skillet and is submerged in broth.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pasta a good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low or the lowest setting that maintains a simmer.
  • Let the pasta simmer in the broth for 7-10 minutes, or until most of the broth is absorbed and the pasta is tender, stirring every couple of minutes and always replacing the lid.
  • Keeping the heat on low, cut the cream cheese into chunks and stir it into the pasta. Once the cream cheese has melted, add the milk and stir until a smooth sauce forms. Finally, add the grated Parmesan over top and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Serve with extra freshly cracked pepper, if desired.

Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon soup base to make my broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 387.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.9g | Protein: 13.5g | Fat: 14.68g | Sodium: 651.33mg | Fiber: 2.75g

Scroll down for the step by step Photos!

Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.

Try These Other Creamy One Pot Pasta Recipes:

How to Make Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – Step by Step Photos

chopped sun dried tomatoes on a cutting board

Chop about ½ cup sun dried tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces. You want a little bit in every bite, instead of a few larger pieces throughout. I used dried, non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes for this recipe because I find them easier to work with and the leftovers easier to store (no refrigeration needed).

Butter and Garlic in a skillet

Add 2 Tbsp butter and two minced cloves of garlic to a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, or just until the garlic is a little softened and becomes really fragrant.

tomatoes, basil, pasta, and broth added to the skillet

Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, ½ tsp dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper, 8oz. fettuccine, and 2 cups chicken broth to the skillet. If your skillet or Dutch oven is not wide enough for the pasta to lay flat and submerged in the broth, you’ll want to break the pasta in half so it fits (I ended up breaking mine in half just after this photo).

Cooked pasta in the skillet, tongs pulling the pasta aside to show the sauce in the bottom of the skillet

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth up to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pasta a good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low, or the lowest temperature that maintains a simmer. Continue to simmer the pasta for 7-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes (always replacing the lid), or until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If the pasta dries out while it cooks, add a little more water. There should be a little bit of thick saucy liquid left in the skillet once the pasta is cooked.

Cream cheese added to the pasta in the skillet

Cut 2 oz. cream cheese into chunks, then stir it into the pasta until it has melted (still over low heat). Adding the cream cheese before the milk helps stabilize the sauce and prevent curdling.

Milk being poured into the skillet full of pasta

Once the cream cheese has melted into the pasta, add 1 cup milk and stir to combine.

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled over the skillet

Finally, sprinkle ¼ cup grated Parmesan over the pasta, and stir until it has melted into the sauce (the pasta is still over low heat).

Finished creamy sun dried tomato pasta in the skillet

And now you have a deliciously creamy and slightly tangy sun dried tomato pasta in cream sauce!

Overhead view of the finished sun dried tomato pasta, dry pasta, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic on the side of the skillet

Season the pasta with more freshly cracked pepper, if desired, and serve!

The post One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pizza Pasta Salad

This is kind of just like a basic Italian pasta salad, but I’m calling it “Pizza Pasta Salad” because this is how I use my leftover pizza toppings. Haha! When you buy a jar of peppers, olives, or any other pizza toppings, it’s always way too much for one pizza, so I repurpose all the […]

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This is kind of just like a basic Italian pasta salad, but I’m calling it “Pizza Pasta Salad” because this is how I use my leftover pizza toppings. Haha! When you buy a jar of peppers, olives, or any other pizza toppings, it’s always way too much for one pizza, so I repurpose all the pizza toppings in a pasta salad the next day. And the best part is that this Pizza Pasta Salad is another one of those great “refrigerator salads” that hold up well for days, so you can keep munching away happily throughout the week!

Repurposed Pizza Topping Pasta Salad

Overhead view of a serving bowl full of pizza pasta salad, wooden spoons on the side

What’s In Pizza Pasta Salad?

Whatever you want! Ha! That’s the beauty of this one. In my pizza pasta salad I included mozzarella, pepperoni, green bell pepper, black olives, red onion, and banana peppers. Here are some other things that would be awesome in this pasta salad:

  • Bacon
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • Spinach
  • Green Olives
  • Ham
  • Salami
  • Pesto
  • Feta
  • Fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley)
  • Mushrooms (marinated mushrooms would be even better)
  • Artichoke hearts

Honestly, the only thing I probably wouldn’t put in my pizza pasta salad is pineapple. While I am a pineapple-pizza fan (sorry-not-sorry), I don’t think it would be very good in this pasta salad.

What Dressing Do you Use?

In the recipe below I’ve included a homemade Italian dressing with grated Parmesan cheese. If you want to take a short cut and use a store bought dressing, I suggest some sort of Italian dressing or Caesar dressing (non-creamy style), and if it doesn’t have Parmesan already in it, I would add some. The Parmesan cheese really adds some oomph to this pizza pasta salad.

Can I Use a Different Pasta?

Absolutely! This recipe is endlessly versatile. You can use any short shaped pasta, like bowtie, penne, or even shells. While you can use a long shape pasta like spaghetti, that type tends to be difficult to stir chunky objects into (they like to fall to the sides or bottom of the bowl). This recipe should also work fine with whole wheat or gluten free pasta.

How Long Does Pizza Pasta Stay Good?

This pasta salad is very refrigerator friendly and will last about 4-5 days in your refrigerator. That means it’s great for your weekly meal prep!

Love refrigerator salads as much as I do? Check out my round up of 19 Refrigerator Salads for Eating Healthy on the Go!

Close up of a large spoonful of pizza pasta salad on a wooden spoon, bowl in the background

 
Close up of a serving bowl of pizza pasta salad, a wooden spoon in the side
Print

Italian Pizza Pasta Salad

Repurpose your leftover pizza toppings into this deliciously simple Italian style pizza pasta salad. Including a simple homemade Italian dressing!
Total Cost $7.98 recipe / $1.00 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 394.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Homemade Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil $0.84
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar $0.40
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22

Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. rotini pasta $1.00
  • 3 oz. pepperoni $1.25
  • 4 oz. mozzarella $1.15
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.89
  • 1/4 cup red onion $0.11
  • 1/2 12oz. jar banana pepper rings $1.00
  • 1/2 4oz. can sliced black olives $0.70

Instructions

  • Make the Italian dressing first so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Parmesan to a bowl or jar. Whisk the ingredients together, or place a lid on the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Cook the rotini according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Let the pasta drain well, shaking the colander every few minutes to remove excess water from the pasta.
  • While the pasta is cooking and draining, prepare the other pasta salad ingredients. Cut the pepperoni in half or into quarters, and chop the mozzarella into small cubes. Dice the bell pepper and red onion. Drain the banana pepper rings and black olives.
  • When the pasta is cooked, cooled, and drained well, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the rest of the prepared ingredients (pepperoni, mozzarella, bell pepper, red onion, banana peppers, and black olives). Toss the ingredients to combine.
  • Give the dressing another shake or stir before drizzling it over the pasta salad. Toss the pasta salad once again to coat everything in the dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 394.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.11g | Protein: 10.01g | Fat: 19.61g | Sodium: 385.08mg | Fiber: 2.18g

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up of a serving bowl of pizza pasta salad, a wooden spoon in the side

How to Make Pizza Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos

A jar of homemade Italian dressing with a spoon lifting a bit out of the jar

Make the Italian dressing first, so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. Add ½ cup olive oil, ¼ red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese to a bowl or jar. Either whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.

Cooked rotini pasta in a colander

Cook one pound of rotini pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Let the pasta drain well, shaking the colander every few minutes to shake off excess water.

Mozzarella and pepperoni on a cutting board

While the pasta is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the pasta salad ingredients. Chop 4oz. mozzarella into small cubes and cut 3oz. (half of a 6oz. package) pepperoni into half rounds or quarter rounds.

Bell pepper, red onion, black olives, and banana peppers on a cutting board

Dice one green bell pepper and about ¼ cup red onion. Drain ½ of a 12oz. jar banana pepper rings, and ½ of a 4oz. can sliced black olives. 

Pasta salad ingredients in a bowl

Once the pasta is cooked, cooled, and drained well, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the pepperoni, mozzarella, green bell pepper, red onion, banana peppers, and black olives to the bowl. Toss these ingredients together.

Shaken jar of dressing held over the bowl of pasta salad.

Give the dressing one last stir or shake…

Italian dressing being poured over pasta salad

Then pour the dressing over the pasta salad.

Tossed pizza pasta salad in a large bowl

Toss the salad again until everything is well coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

Overhead view of pizza pasta salad in a serving bowl with wooden salad utensils on the side

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Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

There’s something really special about the simplicity of pasta with butter, salt, and pepper. The creaminess of the butter and the little pops of salt and pepper sitting on the surface of the pasta, it’s simple goodness at its best. I love this combo so much that I’ve made several variations on that theme over […]

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There’s something really special about the simplicity of pasta with butter, salt, and pepper. The creaminess of the butter and the little pops of salt and pepper sitting on the surface of the pasta, it’s simple goodness at its best. I love this combo so much that I’ve made several variations on that theme over the years. This week I added some sautéed mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and a few dollops of fresh ricotta for extra creaminess. This Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta is still an incredibly simple and delicious pasta dish, perfect for those nights when you want something special, but not complicated. Pair it with a glass of white wine and you’ve got a really amazing dinner!

Easy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta on a plate with a black fork, next to a few whole mushrooms

If you’re as in love with the simple combo of pasta, butter, salt, and pepper as I am, check out my other variations on this simple dish: Spicy Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale, Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Ricotta, Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta, or Bowties and Broccoli.

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use?

I’ve been really taking advantage of these Baby Bella mushrooms from ALDI that have been $1.69/8 oz. for a while, so that’s what I used. You can use regular white button mushrooms, if needed, or full sized portobello mushrooms. If you have access to something a bit fancier, like morels, by all means take advantage of that! 

Can You Freeze Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta?

I don’t suggest this pasta dish for freezing. The “sauce” is extremely light and will get absorbed into the pasta, leaving it dry. Even when reheating refrigerated leftovers, you may want to add a little extra butter to make up for what has absorbed into the pasta while it is in the refrigerator.

What Can I Substitute for Mushrooms?

This dish is all about the mushrooms. If you don’t like or are allergic to mushrooms, I suggest trying one of the other similar recipes linked above (just below the first photo).

What Can I substitute for Spinach?

You can either leave the spinach out, or try something like kale. If using kale, you’ll just need to sauté a bit longer to soften the kale (see Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta).

What Can I substitute for Ricotta?

If you’re not a fan of ricotta, you can either leave it out, or add a generous amount of Parmesan to the pasta in its place.

Close up of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta in the skillet, from the side.

 

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

This simple Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta is an easy and elegant dinner option for busy weeknights when you need to make dinner FAST.

  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta ($0.53)
  • 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms ($3.38)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.20)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($1.07)
  • salt and pepper to taste ($0.05)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta ($1.00)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.03)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the bowtie pasta and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Wash and slice the mushrooms, then add them to a large skillet along with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their water, the water has evaporated, and the mushrooms begin to brown (about 7 minutes).

  3. While the mushrooms are cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic and butter to the browned mushrooms and continue to cook over medium for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the garlic softens a bit.

  4. By this time the pasta should be finished cooking. Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. The starchy pasta water and butter will make a slurry that will act as a light "sauce" that helps the salt and pepper adhere to the surface of the pasta.

  5. Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and stir just until wilted (1 minute). Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir until everything is evenly combined. Turn the heat off and season liberally with salt and pepper. If the pasta is dry, you can add an additional splash of the reserved pasta water.

  6. Finally, spoon the ricotta on top of the pasta in one-tablespoon dollops. Add a pinch of red pepper on top, if desired, and serve warm.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A skillet full of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta with spinach leaves and whole mushrooms on the sides

 

How to Make Mushroom and Spinach Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Cooked bowtie pasta with starchy pasta water in a measuring cup on the side

Begin by cooking 8 oz. bowtie pasta. You’ll be able to prepare the rest of the dish while the pasta is cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, then continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Before draining, reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water.

Sliced mushrooms and olive oil in a large skillet

After you get the water started, wash and slice 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms. Add them to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat.

Water releasing from mushrooms in the skillet

As you cook the mushrooms they’ll begin to release water. Keep cooking until all of that water evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown.

Butter and garlic added to the skillet with mushrooms

Once the mushrooms have browned a little, add 2 Tbsp butter and two cloves of minced garlic. Sauté only for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the garlic softens a bit.

Add spinach and starchy water to skillet

Add about ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom. The butter and water will make a sort of slurry that acts as a light sauce. Add 2 cups fresh spinach to the skillet and stir just until the spinach has wilted (about 1 minute). 

Stir cooked pasta into skillet

Finally, stir the cooked and drained pasta into the skillet until everything is well combined. Turn the heat off and then season liberally with salt and pepper. If the pasta is too dry here, you can add a splash more of the reserved starchy pasta water.

Finished Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta in the skillet next to spinach leaves and whole mushrooms

Finally, add ½ cup whole milk ricotta in one-tablespoon dollops on top of the pasta and sprinkle a pinch of crushed red pepper over top, if desired. Serve warm!

Close up side view of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta on a plate with a black fork.

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Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main […]

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Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main and two sides. Ammiright? So, to make dinner a little easier, I give you Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli!

Quick & Easy Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Two black plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and broccoli next to the pan and a bowl of sliced green onions.

What is Oyster Sauce?

This recipe revolves around one ingredient—oyster sauce. It’s a thick, rich, salty sauce that packs a huge umami punch. But don’t worry, this sauce doesn’t taste fishy at all. It’s just salty, rich, and good. You can find oyster sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, near the other Southeast Asian ingredients. It’s usually fairy inexpensive, but you’ll be able to get an even better deal if you go to an Asian market. Scroll down to the step by step photos below the recipe to see the kind of oyster sauce I used.

Can I use Hoisin Sauce Instead?

I’ve had several people comment on my original Garlic Noodles recipe stating that they have used hoisin sauce in place of the oyster sauce and enjoyed the results, but I have not tried this swap myself. While the two sauces are similar in color and consistency, they differ quite a bit in flavor. Hoisin sauce is much sweeter and not nearly as rich, so your end results will definitely be different.

Can I Freeze Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli?

I wouldn’t suggest this dish for freezing, as the sauce would probably absorb into the noodles and become dry.

Is This Recipe Spicy?

No. The Garlic Noodles themselves are not spicy at all (I often suggest them as a non-spicy alternative to my Dragon Noodles), but if you top them with red pepper flakes, as I did, you will get some heat. If you prefer a totally non-spicy dish, simply skip the crushed red pepper flakes at the end.

Close up of a fork twirling some Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli on a black plate

 

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli is a quick and easy all-in-one bowl dinner recipe with a rich, buttery, salty, and sweet sauce.

  • 4 Tbsp oyster sauce ($0.40)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil* ($0.30)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets ($1.30)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti ($0.55)
  • 4 green onions ($0.40)
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes ($0.05)
  1. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl (microwave for about 20 seconds) then add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the spaghetti is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, begin the beef and broccoli. Add the remaining tablespoon butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to cook over medium heat until the beef is cooked through (5-7 minutes). If you're using a higher fat content beef, drain the fat before moving onto the next step (I used 10% fat and there wasn't enough to drain).

  4. While the beef is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the browned beef and continue to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes more, or until the garlic has softened slightly.

  5. Add the frozen broccoli florets to the skillet with the beef and garlic. Continue to sauté over medium heat just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so it does not need to be completely heated through at this point.

  6. Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and the prepared sauce to the skillet with the beef and broccoli. Continue to cook and stir until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

  7. Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving, along with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

*Toasted sesame oil does not always have the word “toasted” on the label. Look for sesame oil that is deep brown in color, not a light straw color. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger, nutty flavor compared to regular sesame oil. Scroll down to the step by step photos to see the kind I used.

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

 

How to Make Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Prepared oyster sauce mixture in the bowl

Begin by preparing the sauce. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl, then add ¼ cup oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set the sauce aside.

Bottle of oyster sauce

This is the bottle of oyster sauce I used. It’s very inexpensive and can be found at most major grocery stores in the International aisle, although you’ll probably get a better deal (and better product) if you go to an Asian grocery store.

Toasted sesame oil

And this is the toasted sesame oil I used (from ALDI). Toasted sesame oil can also often be found in the International foods aisle. Don’t confuse this with untoasted sesame oil, which has a much more mild flavor and a light straw color. Once you start using this super potent nutty oil, you’ll want to add it to everything!

Cooked Spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the spaghetti. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

Browned beef and minced garlic in a skillet

While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the dish. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once melted, add ½ lb. ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is cooked through. If you’re using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat. Mince 4 cloves garlic, then add them to the browned beef and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more.

Frozen broccoli added to the skillet with beef

Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets to the skillet and continue to cook over medium just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so no need to cook to the point where it is heated through here. Just cook until it is no longer frozen.

Spaghetti and sauce added to the skillet with beef and broccoli

By this point the spaghetti should be finished and drained. Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet along with the prepared sauce. Continue to cook and stir everything over medium heat until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

Finished Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

Slice four green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving. If you like a little spiciness, add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes on top as well.

Two plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli next to a bottle of oyster sauce and a small bowl of sliced green onions

Enjoy that big ol’ plate of rich noodles!!

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One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I always see in the grocery store. While those little packets are probably great for camping, stocking a bomb shelter, or keeping in your emergency hurricane supplies, I think regular weeknights call for something better. Better but […]

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This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I always see in the grocery store. While those little packets are probably great for camping, stocking a bomb shelter, or keeping in your emergency hurricane supplies, I think regular weeknights call for something better. Better but not harder. This Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta comes together in about 25 minutes, is super luscious and creamy, and uses just a few simple ingredients. ;)

Overhead view of a skillet full of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta with a wooden spoon in the side.

Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes Optional

This recipe idea started as just pasta and sauce. Because sometimes that’s all you need to be satisfied. But I like to rummage through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to find leftover ingredients that can be added to whatever I’m cooking. So I ended up with this creamy pesto chicken pasta, with spinach and sun dried tomatoes. But I ate it as just pasta and sauce during testing and it still made me do the happy chair wiggle.

What Type of Pasta Should I Use?

I used penne pasta, but bowties or rotini would also work well. Because this pasta to broth ratio is very important in one pot pastas I can’t vouch for alternative pastas like gluten-free, rice, chickpea, or even whole wheat pasta. They absorb broth differently than semolina pasta and may not work the same in this recipe.

Tips for Success with “one pot” Pastas

One pot pastas can be tricky for some because the pasta is cooked in a much smaller amount of liquid than traditional pasta cooking methods. Here are a few tips to make sure your one pot pasta cooks evenly and to the right texture:

  • Make sure you’re using quality cookware. Use cookware that is thick, heavy, and transfers heat evenly. Thin cookware will leave some pasta overcooked and some pasta undercooked.
  • Use a burner that is close in size to your cookware. This will help the pot heat evenly and cook the pasta evenly.
  • Make sure the broth maintains a strong simmer throughout the cooking time. If it’s not simmering, the pasta will become mushy.
  • Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and make sure the pasta cooks evenly.
  • Keep the pot covered to trap steam, which will help cook the pasta.

Close up of One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in the skillet with a wooden spoon.

 

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This super lush and Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is perfect for busy weeknights. Everything cooks in one pot and is done in under 30 minutes! 

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($5.56)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. penne pasta ($0.40)
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth ($0.20)
  • 1 cup milk ($0.32)
  • 3 oz. cream cheese* ($0.29)
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto ($0.73)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.44)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)

Optional Add-Ins

  • 3 cup fresh spinach ($0.90)
  • 1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes ($1.10)
  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add the butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside.

  2. While the chicken is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the chicken and continue to sauté for one minute more.

  3. Add the uncooked pasta and chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and garlic. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil.

  4. Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Stir the pasta briefly every two minutes as it simmers, replacing the lid quickly each time.

  5. Once the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed, add the milk, cream cheese (cut into chunks), and pesto. Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has fully melted into the sauce. Finally, add the grated Parmesan and stir until combined.

  6. If using, add the fresh spinach and sliced sun dried tomatoes. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then remove the pasta from the heat. Top the pasta with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper, then serve.

*Cream cheese usually has markings on the outer wrapping showing lines for each ounce. Use this as a guide to cut three ounces from the block.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta in a shallow bowl with a black fork.

Love one pot pasta? Check out my One Pot Meals category for more! 

How to Make Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Browned chicken pieces in a deep skillet

Cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add 2 Tbsp butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for one minute more. (I’m using an OXO 4-quart covered skillet)

Uncooked pasta and chicken broth added to the skillet

Add 1/2 lb. uncooked penne pasta and 1.5 cups chicken broth to the skillet. Stir briefly to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Lid being placed on the skillet with uncooked pasta and chicken

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a full boil.

Cooked pasta in the skillet with a spatula pulling the pasta to the side to show no broth remains

Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a brief stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it continue to simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed. Stir the pasta every two minutes or so as it simmers, replacing the lid each time.

Milk being poured into the skillet with chunks of cream cheese and pesto.

Add 3 oz. cream cheese (cut into chunks), 1/3 cup pesto, and 1 cup milk to the skillet. Stir and cook the mixture over medium until the cream cheese has fully melted and the sauce is creamy.

Finished creamy pesto pasta sauce and pasta in the skillet

Once the cream cheese has fully melted in, add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and stir to combine.

Spinach and sun dried tomatoes added to the skillet

If you’re adding spinach and sun dried tomatoes, like I did, add them once the sauce is finished and stir just until the spinach has wilted, then remove the skillet from the heat.

Finished creamy pesto chicken pasta in the skillet topped with black pepper and crushed red pepper

Whether you are using spinach and sun dried tomatoes or not, finish the creamy pesto chicken pasta off with some freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The little pops of flavor that these two bring to the dish really take it to the next level!

Close up of One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Dive in! :)

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