Pasta with White Pesto Sauce

Credit where credit is due: I saw this idea first on Bon Appétit, and was intrigued by the idea of a creamy, dairy-based pesto that derived its flavor and texture from nuts and herbs. I was curious to see if I could adapt the white pesto pasta recipe with just the ingredients in the pantry. And truthfully, I think I did a bang-up job.

I substituted feta for ricotta, almonds for walnuts, and dried Italian herbs for fresh oregano. The trickiest part of my interpretation of BA’s recipe was emulsifying the feta for a rich and creamy result. I accomplished this by chopping the feta into tiny pieces and warming in the oven while the pasta cooked.

This is a delicious, velvety pasta dish that makes for a luxurious weeknight dinner. Serve with fresh greens and enjoy.

This recipe is adapted from

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Pasta with White Pesto Sauce Recipe

Rich white sauce with complex flavor and texture takes weeknight pasta to another level.

Makes: 6 servings

Pasta with White Pesto Sauce

Prep time:

Cook time:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces feta, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shredded
  • Zest of a lemon plus one tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Generous black pepper
  • 1 pound pasta
  • Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Salt water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil into a large heat-safe serving dish.
  4. Add all ingredients except pasta to the serving dish, stir, and place in the oven for about ten minutes, or until cheeses are mostly melted together
  5. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain, reserving at least half a cup of pasta water.
  6. Remove the serving dish from the oven and add hot pasta. Stir vigorously, adding pasta water two tablespoons at a time until the sauce is fully emulsified.
  7. Serve the pasta with additional pepper and Parmesan as desired.

Notes and Nutrition Information

  • Serve this pasta hot and fresh.

  • Use fresh herbs from the garden (basil or oregano) if you have them for a richer flavor.

  • One fourth of this recipe as written contains approximately 626 calories, 21 grams of fat, 86 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 366 milligrams of sodium.

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