white pesto

Categories: Grains and Pasta, Posted by Sandy Bergsten

(adapted from Carla Lalli Music)


¼ cup walnuts

Kosher salt

2 oz. fresh ricotta

Zest of ½ lemon

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano

1 ounce finely grated Parmesan (about ¾ cup), plus more for serving

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

½ pound tube- or rod-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or spaghetti)



Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

Vigorously mix walnuts, ricotta, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, and 1 oz. Parmesan in a large bowl until well combined. Add oil 1 ½ teaspoons or so at a time, stirring well after each addition, until all the oil is incorporated. Season pesto with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Scoop ½ cup pasta cooking liquid into bowl with pesto and stir gently to combine (it’s okay if some of the pesto is still in small clumps). Using a spider, tongs, or slotted spoon, transfer pasta directly to bowl with pesto. Mix energetically until pesto thickens enough to lightly coat pasta, about 2 minutes; the pasta should have sauce clinging to it but there should also be some extra sauce that collects in bottom of bowl.

Divide pasta among bowls and serve with more Parmesan alongside for sprinkling over.

Serves 2

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