Walnut Pesto

by Karen on Monday, March 12, 2012

Post image for Walnut Pesto

Who says a pesto has to be green?  This version of pesto celebrates the walnut in all its glory with a simple combination of ricotta, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil.  It's rich but subtle, and the muted creamy tones are gorgeous.  Trust me, you won't miss the basil.

– 2 cups of walnut halves, toasted
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 1/2 cups of fresh ricotta, divided
– 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
– 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano (and extra for passing at the table)
– Kosher or sea salt
– freshly ground black pepper
– 1 lb of fettuccine

In a food processor or large mortar and pestle, grind the walnuts and garlic until the walnuts are a chunky paste.  Place into a large bowl and add 1 cup of ricotta, the grated Parmigiano and olive oil.  Add about 1 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper and work into a paste.

Boil the pasta in salted water and when it's finished, using tongs, transfer the pasta into the bowl along with some of the water and start to work the pasta into the pesto.  Add more pasta water if it is slightly thick.  The pesto should be loose enough to lightly coat the pasta.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

I liked the texture of fresh ricotta added at the end, so use the rest of the remaining 1/2 cup of ricotta to top each plate of pasta.  Garnish with more cheese and enjoy!



sweet road March 12, 2012 at 6:44 am

Wow, this looks really interesting! I think its common to associate walnuts with sweet foods, but as a savory dish this sounds really great!

Mary March 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

This sounds really good, I love to get new outside of the box pesto recipes!

Belinda @zomppa March 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm

You’re right – pesto doesn’t have to be green. This is such a lovely way to do it!

Eliana March 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

After a careful tasting process, I personally approve of this num-num dish!

Sara P. March 13, 2012 at 12:27 am

Wow. That looks absolutely simply perfect – because it is simple. And I love walnuts. And parmesan…and olive oil…and pasta….OH – I LOVE IT ALL!

Lan March 13, 2012 at 7:37 am

indeed, who said pesto had to be green?

i like the simplicity of this dish, tho i am unable to consume cheese.

la domestique March 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

I love the subtle, but rich and nutty flavor of walnuts and will definitely be making this pesto.

deana@lostpastremembered March 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

You go girl… great snowy cloud of parm on a nutty base… what could be wrong.. magical pictures too!!!

Valerie March 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

How you manage to make walnut pesto look beautiful is beyond me. Lovely recipe, I can’t wait to try it. I wonder if throwing in some pignoli would be nice?

Vanessa April 22, 2012 at 8:39 am

Wow, that’s a great idea! I can’t eat green vegetables, so I’ll make this for sure. Thanks for sharing it!

celine August 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm

yum must be delicious! love your blog… great idea having different food/ continent section love it! but nothing new from March 2012???

Carmen November 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Two words:


ti (matimuk) December 3, 2012 at 1:19 am

I really love your journal and your warm and inspiring photographs..thank you..

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