Giada De Laurentiis Pasta With Almond Pesto Is An ‘Almost No-Cook’ Weeknight Meal

Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis puts a new spin on the pesto sauce by using almonds instead of the classic recipe’s more traditional pine nuts. It’s a tasty and colorful dish that’s also a perfect weeknight dinner.

Food Network Personality Giada De Laurentiis | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

De Laurentiis pasta and pesto recipe is ‘almost’ no-cook

As the Simply Giada star writes on her lifestyle and food blog, Giadzythis recipe couldn’t be simpler.

“This pasta dish is almost no kitchen,” she explained. “Really, the only the cooking required is boiling the pasta. Once done, simply make a quick almond pesto and toss it with sweet cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese – toss in the orecchiette pasta and dinner is ready!

“It’s as delicious hot as it is cold. This is a super easy weeknight pasta that can easily work for anything from family dinner to a picnic or even a dinner party.

Get the full recipe, video and reviews on the Food Network website.

Giada De Laurentiis’ dish is an easy weeknight meal

With just seven ingredients – broccoli rabe, roasted unsalted almonds, fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan, diced fresh mozzarella cheese and orecchiette pasta – De Laurentiis’ dish comes together quickly.

First, the chef boils the orecchiette (meaning “little ears” in Italian) pasta and, while cooking, starts the pesto.

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Unsalted almonds are placed in a food processor: “What I want to do first is start cracking the almonds on their own,” De Laurentiis explains in the Food Network video (above) for this recipe. Now the basil leaves and salt are then added and tossed with the almonds, followed by a drizzle of olive oil which brings the sauce together.

She pours the pesto into a bowl and the Parmesan cheese is mixed in, along with the blanched broccoli (“I think it goes really well with the almonds”). Cubed fresh mozzarella cheese is added.

“Pesto is kind of like the base sauce and you can add a lot of different flavors to it, which is why I love it so much,” said the Giada at home said the host, adding, “It’s the kind of thing that can stay at room temperature; you don’t have to worry about it being very hot, which is really nice when you are going to receive.

Another variation of pesto sauce from Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis

She adds the pasta straight from the boiling water (“You want it to be a little indulgent, but not too much”) and mixes it with the pesto mixture. More parmesan is added on hot pasta: “That way the cheese sticks to the pasta and the sauce sticks to the cheese.”

The result is a satisfying, fresh-tasting pesto sauce and pasta.

De Laurentiis pesto dish has received praise from critics

Home cooks were impressed with this really simple and delicious pasta dish and talked about it on the Food Network site.

Reviewers said “Fantastic!!”, “Great recipe and easy to make.”

Another fan of the recipe noted, “Amazing! The basil and almond pesto is so refreshing and nutty. It really adds enough extra flavor to broccolini and pasta to make you crave that next bite.

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