Pesto Cavatappi with Meatballs

My kids love Noodles & Company.  And whenever we go there, they always order the same thing: Pesto Noodles with Meatballs.

Since I like to limit how much we go out for dinner, and since I know how to make my own basil pesto, I set out to make this favorite at home.

I use my favorite meatball mix here, but in a pinch you could use frozen meatballs instead.  As far as the sauce goes, it’s a bit different every time I make it.  I don’t usually measure (don’t worry, I did for the recipe below).  I typically pick a big handful of basil and then dump in as much milk and parmesan as I feel like.  Sometimes I end up with an almost alfredo-pesto.  

Regardless, the basics remain the same and it’s always a hit!

Check out these other great pesto recipes:

Pesto Cavatappi with Meatballs


1 pound ground beef

¼ cup bread crumbs

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt & pepper

1 egg


1 pound cavatappi noodles

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼-½ cup milk, as needed

⅓ cup basil pesto

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil or silicone mats.

Mix together the meatball ingredients.  Portion out into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook the cavatappi in salted water according to package instructions.  Drain and return to pan.

Stir the butter into the hot noodles and stir until melted.  Stir in the parmesan and milk.  Finally stir in the pesto, add more milk, if desired.


  1. This sounds wonderful and I still have some of my spinach basil in the refrigerator waiting for a purpose.

  2. I bet your kids were thrilled that you recreated their favorite. It sounds yummy.

  3. A recreation of your kids favourite dish at home.. they must be so happy. Like how you've added extra cheese and milk along with the pesto for more creamier noodles.


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