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Sicilian ricotta and pistachio pasta in blue and white bowl
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5 from 40 votes

Sicilian ricotta and pistachio pasta

This traditional vegetarian Sicilian ricotta and pistachio pasta recipe is beautifully creamy, light and easy to make. Perfect for summer and weeknight meals!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Sicilian, Southern Italian
Keyword: Italian recipe, pasta recipe, pesto, pistachio, pistachio pesto, ricotta, Sicilian food
Servings: 4
Calories: 909kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g occhi di lupo pasta (140z) or other pasta tube
  • 400 g fresh ricotta (14oz) traditionally sheep ricotta but cow's milk ricotta works too.
  • 200 g pistachios (7oz) raw kernels
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 g Parmigiano cheese (2oz) grated
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste


  • Put a pot of water onto boil for the pasta. Add salt once the water starts to boil and
    bring to the boil again.

  • If your pistachios are unpeeled, put them into a bowl of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain them and wipe them with  a cloth to remove some of the skin covering them.

  • Save a few pistachios and put the rest in a blender or food processor, add the grated cheese and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Blend/pulse until you have a rough dense pesto. If necessary add more olive oil but as little as possible.

  • Cream the ricotta in a food processor or with a fork. Put it in a large pan (big enough to hold the cooked pasta too)

  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

  • Just before the pasta is ready, take half a cup of the cooking water and add to the
    ricotta. Stir it in until you have a creamy sauce. Add salt to taste. Then add
    the pistachio pesto and stir that in too until it’s totally incorporated in the

  • Save a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Add it to the pan with the
    sauce. Add some of the saved pasta cooking water if the sauce seems dry (although it shouldn’t be).

  • Mix the pasta and the sauce together well. Add ground black pepper. Serve immediately with a few whole pistachios and extra grated cheese if required.


This recipe can be made with different types of small to medium size pasta tubes. The best pistachios to use are raw kernels. But, if you can't find raw pistachio, toasted may work. I wouldn't recommend salted pistachios! Traditionally this recipe is made with sheep ricotta but cow's milk ricotta is delicious too.