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Whole Wheat Penne with Pesto and Ricotta


  • Salt

  • 1 pound whole wheat penne rigate pasta

  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces (a generous handful)

  • 1 cup packed spinach or baby spinach leaves

  • 1/2 cup packed arugula leaves

  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled

  • Pepper

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of generous handfuls)

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1 tablespoon honey


Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of the pasta cooking water.

In a small skillet, toast the nuts over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 4 minutes; let cool. Using a food processor, puree the nuts, spinach, arugula, parsley and garlic; season with salt and pepper. With the machine on, pour in the EVOO in a steady stream and mix until a thick paste forms. Transfer the pesto to a large pasta bowl; stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano and reserved pasta cooking water.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and honey, season with pepper and set aside.

Add the pasta to the pesto, toss and let stand for 1 minute. Serve with dollops of the honey ricotta.