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Pappardelle with Creamy Ricotta Pesto – pappardelle pasta in a creamy, garlicky pesto sauce infused with ricotta. Who would have thought that pesto could get any better? #pesto #pasta #pappardelle #italian #easy #quick #dinner #ricotta #sauce

Pappardelle with Creamy Ricotta Pesto

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5 from 40 reviews

  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Pappardelle with Creamy Ricotta Pesto – pappardelle pasta in a creamy, garlicky pesto sauce infused with ricotta.


Units Scale
  • 1 pound pappardelle pasta (or other variety (500g))
  • 1 tablespoon butter ((14g))
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves ((100g))
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil ((100g))
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts ((33g))
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese ((56g))
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese ((14g))
  • 2 tablespoons butter (softened to room temperature (28g))
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese ((57g))


For the pasta:

  1. Over high heat, boil the pasta in salted water in a large pot until al dente. The water should be as salty as sea water. I use about 2 tablespoons.
  2. Drain pasta, reserve some of the cooking liquid to thin the Ricotta Pesto as needed to the desired consistency.
  3. Toss drained pasta with 1 tablespoon butter.

To make in the food processor:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine basil, olive oil, pine nuts, minced garlic, optional lemon juice, and salt to taste. Process until creamy.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the two cheeses, butter, and ricotta.

To make with mortar and pestle:

  1. Combine basil, pine nuts, minced garlic, and salt to taste (coarse is better in the mortar). Using the pestle with a rotary, grinding motion, grind the ingredients into a paste against the sides of the mortar.
  2. Add both cheeses and the optional lemon and using the pestle grind into the paste.
  3. Pour in olive oil in a thin stream and beat until incorporated with a wooden spoon.
  4. Stir in butter and ricotta.

Combine pasta and sauce:

  1. Toss the Ricotta Pesto with the hot, buttered pasta, adding reserved pasta water as necessary to make a sauce that clings to the pasta. I stir about ½ cup of the reserved water into the pesto before adding to the pasta. Salt as needed to taste.


Top with extra parmesan cheese if desired.

A little lemon zest in the pesto will add a bright flavor.

If you’d like to add some leafy greens (in addition to the basil), feel free to blend up some baby spinach, kale, or arugula.

For added protein, try topping with grilled salmon, chicken, or shrimp.

For gluten free, use a gluten free pasta.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 548
  • Sugar: 2.1 g
  • Sodium: 552.4 mg
  • Fat: 29.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58.5 g
  • Protein: 13.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 27.7 mg