I learned to make traditional walnut pesto in a quaint little specialty shop in Genoa, Italy. I tweaked it a little by omitting the bread and adding ricotta cheese, anchovie, and basil. I enjoy the creamy texture of the cheese along with the and crunchy nuts. It’s great on crostini or tossed with pasta or gnocchi.
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup whole milk Ricotta cheese
3 anchovie fillets
handfull of basil leaves
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
- In a mortar and pestle, grind the nuts (pound and twist, turning the mortar as you go), adding the nuts a little at a time.
- Add the garlic and and anchovies and continue pounding, twisting and turning.
- Add the basil leaves and continue to mix.
- Incorporate the ricotta cheese.
- Add Parmesan cheese, continue blending.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Do not worry if the sauce looks thick, add a little of the water from cooking the gnocchi or pasta.
- Toss with butter nut squach gnocchi or pasta, or top a crostini with this delicious pesto!