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Creamy Pesto Rigatoni with Chili Garlic Breadcrumbs

Prep Time 40 mins


  • 1 lb Rigatoni, cooked according to package directions
  • 1.5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots, diced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream

For the Pesto:

  • 1 cup Spinach (or any leafy green like kale, arugula)
  • 1 cup Basil Leaves
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
  • 1 cup Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes

For the Breadcrumbs:

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, finely grated (preferably on a microplane)
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil or Parsley, finely chopped


To make the pesto:

  • In a food processor combine all of the ingredients and pulse until well blended.

To Make the Breadcrumbs:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large and wide skillet over medium low heat. Once oil is hot, add the grated garlic and red chili flakes to the pan and let cook until garlic is fragrant but not browned (about 2 minutes)
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add in the breadcrumbs. Continue to stir gently and allow the breadcrumbs to get golden and slightly toasted. Once they are golden in color, remove from the heat into a bowl and add the basil/parsley, lemon zest, and oregano. Set aside.

Prepare the Pasta:

  • Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, once the oil is hot add in diced shallots and cook shallots for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the shallots are cooked, reduce heat to low and add in the heavy cream and all of the pesto along with 3/4 tsp salt. Mix until everything is well combined and then add in the drained rigatoni and toss together with the pesto sauce. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes at a slow simmer and allow the sauce to slightly thicken. Remove from heat.
  • To serve, scoop the pasta in two individual bowls and top with about a 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs over each serving. Enjoy hot!