A weeknight-friendly pasta I can pull off in under 15 minutes.
At least once a week, my brain feels so scattered that by dinnertime I am at a loss for what to feed my family. For those moments, I have a handful of back-pocket meals I can pull off while spaced out: scrambled eggs over rice, sesame soba noodles, and Giada De Laurentiis' white pesto pasta, a creamy Alfredo-like pasta with toasted walnuts, ricotta, and salty Parmesan.
Having made this pasta over a dozen times, I can confirm that it's one of the easiest weeknight-friendly pasta with slow-earned, satisfying flavor—you won't even need to add a side to round out your meal.
How I Make Giada's White Pesto Pasta
I can swing this pasta in under 15 minutes and you can too. Here's how:
Grab the widest lidded pot or braiser you own. The wider the vessel, the faster the water will boil. Keeping the lid on also helps it boil more quickly. Below, I included an image of my go-to braiser for when I need to cook pasta in a hurry.
Fill the pot with water and salt it generously. For about four quarts of water, I do a generous tablespoon of kosher salt. Set the pot over high heat and place the lid on. As soon as it comes to a boil, add a pound of pasta. I highly recommend Wegman's Amore Mafaldine or a pasta shape with ridged edges that the sauce can cling to, like farfalle, fusilli, or campanelle.
While the pasta cooks, make the white pesto. In a food processor, pulse a cup of toasted walnuts until finely ground. I buy toasted walnuts specifically for this recipe. If yours are raw, you'll want to toast them. Here's a guide for how to toast walnuts in the oven or the stovetop.
Add one cup each of ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese, half a cup of olive oil, two cloves garlic, zest from one lemon, and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Process until fully combined.
Use a mug to scoop out a cup of pasta water—you'll need it to thin the pesto. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink and return the pasta to the pot. Scrape the white pesto onto the pasta, add the pasta water, and use tongs to swirl the pasta and the sauce together.
I like to squeeze fresh lemon juice all over to brighten things up, but know that the pasta will taste quite lemony. Though not necessary, you can top the pasta with fresh basil leaves as Giada does. I rarely have fresh basil around, especially in the winter—I promise it'll be delicious nonetheless.
Get Recipe with Title: Giada De Laurentiis' White Pesto Pasta Recipe
Don't Have a Food Processor?
You don’t need a food processor, a mortar and pestle, or a blender to make the white pesto. Finely chop the walnuts using a chef's knife and cutting board or place them in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Finely grate the garlic (I use a Microplane). Place the finely ground walnuts and grated garlic in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and vigorously stir together until combined.
What To Use Instead of Walnuts
Do you dislike walnuts or have an allergy? I've run out of walnuts and have made the white pesto without them. Simply double the Parmesan cheese (two cups total) or use toasted pine nuts, blanched almonds, or cashews instead. Almonds are quite firm, so grind them as finely as possible so that they aren't too gritty in the sauce.
Read the original article on Simply Recipes.