Ever since I was little and my dad used to take me out for Italian food a minimum of two nights per week, I have been obsessed with pesto sauce. Sure, during my teens and early 20′s I was always ordering whatever came with alfredo sauce, but my dad’s a real good sharer, and he would always give me a little plate of his pesto sauce. I considered this the “healthy” sauce because it was green and there was no cream.
Well, pesto sauce although loaded with healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts, is still incredibly calorie dense. Especially if you’re me and you like a side of pasta with your sauce. It’s funny that adding extra cheese actually makes this sauce lower in calories and fat. I can’t argue that it’s necessarily “healthier” than traditional pesto, but it makes me feel a little better about the whole thing.
Not to mention it is ridiculously good. In fact, I think I even like it more than a traditional pesto. The ricotta cheese makes it thick and creamy–perfect for lasagna, calzones or pizza (coming soon…). It’s great with pasta too, or just as a dipping sauce for veggies. Or, you know, a spoon. It’s ridiculously easy to make and comes together in about 3 minutes flat. Yes, 3 minutes. Of course depending on how quick and nimble your food processor is, but it makes creating a dish with it a total breeze!
- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup low fat (or part skim) ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Place basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheeses in food processor and blend. Slowly, stream in olive oil until everything comes together to form a thick sauce. If sauce is too thick for your taste, stream in a little more olive oil. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Lightly adapted from Rachael Ray