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There’s a massive bubbling pot of Sunday gravy on our stovetop every weekend all winter without fail, but when summer comes around, we usually swap out those hot and cozy pasta dishes for the cooler, fresher flavors of pesto. After all, any time we don’t have to reduce a pot of sauce four hours in our already-steamy kitchens, it’s a win. But plain old basil pesto can get a little boring after awhile, so when we saw Giada’s Italy author Giada De Laurentiis’ creamy white pesto recipe, organic loose leaf green tea canada we knew it would be the perfect pairing for pasta and our favorite summer veggies.


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De Laurentiis’ white pesto comes together in a food processor in just a couple of minutes, though you can use a mortar and pestle if you want it to be more “authentic.” It has a rich, nutty undertone thanks to toasted walnuts and olive oil, and a creamy base of ricotta cheese and Parmesan. Lemon zest and a bit of garlic add some zip to the recipe so it doesn’t taste too stodgy, and that’s really all it takes. You can keep things simple, tossing the white pesto sauce with hot pasta, pasta water, and fresh basil, but we think it’s begging for the addition of fresh veggies.

Courtesy of Clarkson Potter.
Clarkson Potter.

From juicy fresh cherry tomatoes to charred sweet corn, pan-fried cubes of deep purple eggplant to ribbons of sauteed zucchini and summer squash, the combination of creamy ricotta pesto and bright, vibrant summer veggies is a match made in heaven. And forget about pasta — how good would a pizza topped with De Laurentiis’ white pesto and fresh summer veggies be?

Just as you might use traditional basil pesto to top crostini, grilled meats, and more, or even to stuff pasta like ravioli and tortellini, so can you use this creamy ricotta pesto. And don’t be afraid to experiment — a flavored olive oil, like one made with lemon or garlic, could add a new depth to the recipe, and blending in some basil or sun-dried tomatoes to the pesto itself wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.


No matter how you serve it, the real gift of De Laurentiis’ ricotta pesto is that it’s encouraged us to think of pesto beyond basil, which means even more tasty summer meals are in store.

In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:

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