Roasted-Almond Ricotta Pesto with Olives


Chicago summers are usually hot and humid. We go from complaining about cold to complaining about heat in a matter of days. This summer is different. Everyone has been complaining that it isn’t hot enough. While I agree it has not felt like summer I will take an unusually mild summer over the usual any day. This past weekend we finally got into the 90’s and it felt like summer had finally arrived just as back to school sales start up. It may be strange timing but it is the perfect time for a no-cook pesto.


Even when the weather isn’t working against me, summer makes me lazy. I like this pesto (or any pesto) because it only requires the use of the food processor and takes about 5 minutes to throw together. It is great on pasta but would be also be good as a dip or even as a sandwich spread.


Roasted-Almond Ricotta Pesto with Olives (adapted from Gourmet, August 2009)

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup roasted unsalted almonds
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives

With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop motor and add almonds, basil, lemon juice, parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, then process until finely chopped. With motor running add olive oil and blend until incorporated.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in ricotta and olives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss with hot spaghetti, using some of the cooking water to thin sauce if needed.


16 comments to “Roasted-Almond Ricotta Pesto with Olives”

  1. Love the idea of using something besides pine nuts. Almonds sound great.

  2. This pesto sounds delicious! I love your pairing of almonds, ricotta, and olives!

  3. Funny you should have chosen this recipe. I have the artichoke-fennel pasta from the same article on my list of things to try this week. I’ll let you know how it is!

  4. yes, let me know how it is. that one sounded really good too. thanks!

  5. Gorgeous. Truly. And so so summery!

  6. That looks heavenly.

  7. I would have never thought to add ricotta. I make pesto all the time, so this will be a nice way to mix things up. Thanks!

  8. Oh I’ve never thought to use almonds…I always turn to walnuts if I’m out of pinenuts. Looks wonderful, and I agree with you on the weather. It’s been the same here in New York and I’m absolutely fine with sub-90 degrees! No one else seems to be though…

  9. Looks good my friend… very good. And as for this Chicagoan – Until about 5 days ago, I thought it was the most perfect summer of all time.

  10. I’ve recently started making my own ricotta and it seems like this would be a good use for it for an impressive but simple dinner party main course. Plus, anything with olives is going to sound good to me, so I will definitely be making this.

  11. Hell to the YES! This looks amazing. Will be trying tout de suite!

  12. yet another amazing recipe!
    can’t wait to try it out!

  13. […] who knew this is one of the yummiest pesto recipes […]

  14. I’m so a roasted almonds pesto chic. And i love ‘pestonades’. Lazy but lovely. What more could anyone ask for?

  15. Amazing! I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m quickly trying all of the recipes you’ve shared here. I’m impressed! Can’t wait to experience your menu at Floriole! Thanks Tim!

  16. yay, Melina! That is so nice to hear. Be sure to introduce yourself at Floriole!

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