Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins

Looking to make a lighter pesto, America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook took out the nuts and added a surprise ingredient!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine the dried porcini mushrooms and water in a small microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Let stand until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift the mushrooms from the liquid with a fork and mince. Pour the liquid through a small strainer lined with a single sheet of paper towel into a measuring cup.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the white mushrooms, shallot, 1 tbls. of the oil, and 1/2 teaspoons salt together in a 12" nonstick skillet. Cover and cook over medium low heat until the mushrooms release their juice, about 7 minutes.
  3. Uncover, increase the heat to medium high, and stir in the garlic and thyme. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the strained porcini water, scraping up any browned bits.
  4. Process the sauteed mushroom mixture, minced porcini, Parmesan, ricotta, parsley, and remaining 1 tbls. oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When tossing the pesto with pasta, add some of the pasta cooking water as needed to loosen the consistency of the pesto.
  6. Note:.
  7. The pesto can be covered with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed flush against its surface and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Do not freeze this pesto.
Most Helpful

I made this fabulous pesto using all white mushrooms, I am going to try it again using both porcini and white next time although it really can't improves that much it was fabulous with all white mushrooms, I have already gone through have of this myself, thanks for this great pesto recipe Shar!

Kittencal@recipezazz April 20, 2009

I doubled the recipe and two of us thoroughly enjoyed this with pasta. A fabulous blend of flavours: totally yummy! :) I'm going to be making it again for take-to-work lunches. Just with some baby spinach leaves and perhaps some cucumber slices in crispy ciabatta, it would be delicious. And I'll certainly be making it again as a pasta sauce, and as a dip. Thank you so much for sharing yet another wonderful recipe, Sharon! I'm just so happy to have chanced upon it! Made for PRMR.

bluemoon downunder April 14, 2009

This was, and I say was, as it was gobbled up by my family as a before dinner snack. I had cut the recipe in half since I wasn't sure how it would go over, but it was a success! Unfortunately I wasn't able to get dried porcini mushrooms and settled with baby portabellas. I also added fresh basil to the mixture. Made for Spring '09 Veg. Swap tag.

AcadiaTwo April 10, 2009