Bet you’ve never heard of ricotta pesto before – that’s because we typically think of pesto as being a green sauce, since the traditional pesto alla genovese is made with basil leaves, plus some pine nits.  But the definition of pesto has become very expansive and now encompasses any kind of sauce made with herbs, olive oil, and nuts, and that’s where this white pesto comes in.  It’s made with some oregano and walnuts in addition to ricotta cheese, so it slides in under the umbrella of pesto.  And unlike your typical pesto, it’s super easy to make because there’s no blending that has to be done to make the sauce, just some mixing of pretty simple ingredients.  We based this on something we saw in Bon Appétit, and it’s a great and quick recipe for some tasty, unique pasta.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • Walnuts
  • Ricotta cheese
  • A lemon
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • A pound of pasta

To start, measure out 1/2 cup of walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 350°F for 3 minutes, then use a spatula to flip them over, roast for another 3 minutes,and take them out to cool.  Also boil water to cook your pasta.

Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together  1/2 cup of ricotta, a thinly sliced garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of chopped oregano, 2 ounces of grated Parmesan, and the zest from your lemon. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of olive oil and mix that in as well.




When the walnuts have cooled, add those in.




As your pasta is cooking, scoop out 1 cup of the water from the pot and stir that in to the ricotta – you’ll get a pretty runny sauce.  Once the pasta is finished boiling and drained, mix it with the sauce.




And then serve up the pasta topped with extra Parmesan cheese.




The beauty of this pesto is that it’s really quick to make but so different and tasty – it’s creamy, which you wouldn’t expect with a pesto sauce, but it also has that great nutty bite and herb-y flavor that you expect from a typical pesto.  Topped with a generous amount of Parmesan, this is an excellent new type of sauce that you can whip up in just a few minutes.  It’s a great comfort food if pasta is your jam, so try it out if you want to eat some speedy gourmet food.