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White Walnut Pesto Pasta

And it all comes together in under 30 minutes!

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When you hear the word “pesto,” you probably picture a vibrant green sauce of sorts. While pesto is traditionally made with basil leaves and garlic, you can easily swap out ingredients and make some pretty amazing variations. For example, this White Walnut Pesto. Instead of basil, this recipe uses toasted walnuts. There’s plenty of garlic as well as parmesan cheese, so you know it’s going to be delicious!

If you don’t like walnuts or don’t have any on hand, you can replace them with almost any nut. Almonds, cashews, even pumpkin seeds will work for this dinner. The secret ingredient, in my opinion, is the honey. The pesto only includes 2 teaspoons of honey, but that little bit of sweetness mixed with toasted walnuts and creamy garlic sauce…perfection.

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You’ll start by toasting the walnuts. Add the nuts to a dry skillet and heat on medium-high heat, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Toast for about 10 minutes. Then, place toasted walnuts in a food processor along with 4 cloves of peeled garlic. Blitz for 30 seconds. Next, add parmesan cheese, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, and honey and blend for 30 seconds. Stop to scrape down the sides, then blend for another 40-60 seconds. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 2-3 cups of the pasta water. When cooked, pour pasta into a large mixing bowl and top with the walnut pesto. Add 1 cup of pasta water and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to the pasta bowl, using tongs to mix everything. Add more water as necessary to achieve the desired thickness of white pesto sauce.

Serve up hot with extra cheese, walnuts, salt, and pepper on top!

Makes 4 servings

10m prep time

10m cook time

4
Rated 4 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated (more for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 package (12oz) spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water
Preparation
  1. Add walnuts to a dry skillet and heat on medium-high heat, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Toast for about 10 minutes.
  2. Place toasted walnuts in a food processor along with 4 cloves of peeled garlic. Blitz for 30 seconds.
  3. Next, add parmesan cheese, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, and honey and blend for 30 seconds. Stop to scrape down the sides, then blend for another 40-60 seconds. Set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 2-3 cups of the pasta water.
  5. When cooked, pour pasta into a large mixing bowl and top with the walnut pesto. Add 1 cup of pasta water and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to the pasta bowl, using tongs to mix everything. Add more water as necessary to achieve the desired thickness of white pesto sauce.
  6. Serve up hot with extra cheese, walnuts, salt, and pepper on top!

Recipe adapted from Food by Jonister.