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Sonora Wheat Fettuccine with Pesto Bianco

Servings: 4

White Sonora wheat, an heirloom North American variety also imparts a pale golden color and rich, almost toasty flavor to pasta that pairs beautifully with this creamy nut and ricotta pesto.


  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, preferably Italian
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Fine sea salt
  • 10 small basil leaves, more thinly sliced for serving
  • 1 tsp. fresh marjoram leaves
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup well-drained fresh ricotta
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. Sonora Wheat Fettuccine
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 810
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 400
  • Fat (g): 44
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 15
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 190
  • Sodium (mg): 1000
  • Carbohydrates (g): 79
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Sugar (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 27


  • If using a mortar and pestle, pound the walnuts and pine nuts until finely ground. Add the garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, basil, and marjoram, and pound until the mixture is a coarse paste. Drizzle in the oil, and stir with the pestle until well incorporated. Spoon in half of the ricotta, and stir vigorously to incorporate. Add the rest of the ricotta and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and again stir vigorously to obtain a fluffy and airy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the pesto into a bowl or container, and cover until ready to use.
  • If using a food processor, put the walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, basil, and marjoram in the work bowl of a mini food processor, and pulse to a coarse paste. Drizzle in the oil and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and incorporate the ricotta and 1/2 tsp. pepper as directed above. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Cover until ready to use.
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Gently drop the fettuccine nests into the boiling water, and stir with a serving fork or pasta fork to separate the noodles. Bring the water back to a boil, and cook the pasta for 5 minutes, or until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, spoon about half of the pesto into a warmed serving bowl, and add the lemon zest and a small ladleful of the cooking water from the pot to loosen the sauce. Reserve about a cup of the cooking water, and then drain the pasta. Transfer the fettuccine to the serving bowl, and toss gently with the sauce, adding more pesto or cooking water as needed to thoroughly coat the noodles with the pesto. Dollop the remaining pesto on top. Serve with the lemon wedges, basil, and freshly ground pepper, if you like.


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