This Easy Pesto Skillet Pasta is a quick and delicious dinner that you can whip up in just 30 minutes! It features tender penne pasta tossed in tangy basil pesto, topped with sharp parmesan cheese. And the best part? You can choose your own flavor adventure! Enjoy customizing this cheesy, pasta goodness to your own liking with your favorite mix-ins like juicy sun-dried tomatoes, tender grilled chicken, nutty artichokes, nourishing spinach or crispy broccoli. Add them all or just a few… the choice is yours! Whether you’re cooking for one or feeding a family, Easy Pesto Skillet Pasta is a winner!

image 3488


For the pasta:

  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, plus more, to taste, for serving
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Optional mix-ins:

  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cocktail tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken, grilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichokes, drained


Step 1 –In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the penne to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Step 2 –Pour the milk into a skillet and slowly bring it up to medium heat.

Step 3 –Add the cream cheese to the milk and stir until it has melted.

Step 4 –Add the pesto and 1/2 cup of the parmesan to the milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.

Step 5 –Season the sauce with the garlic salt and the pepper.

Also Read:  Chicken Dirty Casserole

Step 6 –Add the drained pasta to the skillet, stirring well over medium-low heat, until the pasta is tender, about 5 minutes.

Step 7 –Stir the optional mix-ins into the pasta mixture and cook until they are heated through.

Step 8 –Sprinkle the pasta with the extra parmesan cheese.

Step 9 –Serve.