Recipe Review

These Creamy Pesto Shells Will Be a Family Favorite

published Jan 31, 2019
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(Image credit: Damn Delicious )

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Pesto is one of those rare, iconic dishes that’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients but is way more than the sum of its parts. Italy’s Genoa Airport even exempts pesto from the ban on taking liquids on planes, so travelers can take the city’s famous pesto home with them without trying to figure out how to check it in their luggage. This take on the classic basil pesto contains mozzarella and heavy cream to make it extra rich and velvety, and a surprise dose of broccoli for extra vegetables.

Classic pesto is made with basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese; this version combines fresh baby spinach, broccoli florets, and fresh basil in a food processor with chicken stock to make a paste that’s as bright and summery as fresh basil and as green as the Wicked Witch of the West.

In order to turn that food processor slurry into a creamy pasta sauce, sauté some yellow onion in olive oil until it’s translucent and add some garlic until it’s fragrant. Add some flour to the pan and whisk it into the onion- and garlic-flavored olive oil until it’s lightly browned, then add chicken stock, whisk it well, and let it simmer until smooth and slightly reduced. Then add the green basil-spinach-broccoli mixture and a good dose of heavy cream, and it’s ready to mix with cooked pasta. You can use whatever pasta shape you like for this, but shells are a classic. Stir those in and add mozzarella cheese, and you’ll have a rich take on pesto that’s as creamy as Alfredo sauce, and full of fresh basil and vegetables.

To make it colorful and extra flavorful, serve the cheesy green shells topped with blistered cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan for a dish that’s fresh and vibrant; ridiculously creamy; and red, white, and green like the Italian flag.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Pesto Shells from Damn Delicious

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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