Here we go with another fantastic recipe from our new cookbook Shaya!

It’s one of those recipes that is just so simple that it has to be good! We brought it for Easter dinner and everyone loved it!

There’s not a lot of ingredients, so make sure the ones you use are top-quality. Go for whole milk ricotta, good quality olive oil, and a really good balsamic.

You’ll be glad you did.

And buy the book. You’ll be glad you did that, as well!

Ricotta with Date and Pecan Pesto

adapted from Shaya, An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel
By Alon Shaya

  • 2 cups parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta, drained

Place parsley, pecans, and dates in food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Blend in cheese, olive oil, and balsamic, and add salt to taste.

Place drained ricotta on a rimmed plate and spread out – making a well in the center. Place the parsley mixture in the center.

Serve with crusty baguettes or your favorite cracker.

Alon makes his by hand-chopping the ingredients – making for a much chunkier dish. He also uses less dates and parmesan.  I went with the food processor but made sure there was still a lot of texture. I definitely wouldn’t want it as fine as a traditional Pesto Genovese.

And if you really want to blow their socks off – make your own ricotta!

Fresh Ricotta

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a heavy pot and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Scoop curds into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and drain about 30 minutes.  Squeeze to remove as much whey as possible.

Cover and chill.

It’s ridiculously easy – and ridiculously good!