Gav Martell: He’s in the Kitchen


Basil-Ricotta (Nut-Free!) Pesto Pasta

A nut-free pesto sauce your family will flip over

Backyard herb gardens are a wonderful way to try out your green thumb and an easy way to save money at the grocery store. However, many herbs grow as quickly as weeds and you'll quickly find yourelf with an abundance of the stuff ready for pruning. This year I have basil growing at a record pace so I was keen to make a fresh-herb pasta dish.
In our home pesto has always been a popular choice but when my wife was diagnosed with severe tree nut allergies I had to come up with an alternate to traditional pesto, which uses pine nuts. To thicken up this delicious basil-based pesto I used some Italian ricotta cheese. The flavours in this dish are so wonderfully summer-fresh and will be an instant favourite with your family or guests. 
500 grams spaghetti
2 cups fresh basil
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
salt pepper to taste
 Prepare spaghetti al dente as per instructions. 
 In a food processor, pulse the basil leaves with the oil and garlic until finely chopped. In a large bowl combine the basil mixture and remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  
 Transfer the spaghetti into the bowl and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
For a traditional pesto with pine nuts check out this delicious version for pesto made easy.
Or for another nut-free pasta dish try this kid-friendly baked ziti recipe