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Potato Salad with Ricotta Pesto

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Hey, drop that mayo!  

Jazz up your potato salad  my ricotta pesto recipe this Memorial Day weekend!


This potato salad recipe was inspired by a pasta dish my mother used to make. It had string beans, potatoes and was smothered in  a ricotta pesto sauce.  It was good –  like a lip smackin, finger lickin, kinda  good!!  

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, and summer reminds me of my mother’s fresh jars of  pesto, I’m inspired to recreate her ricotta pesto dish.  I’m stepping out of  my comfort  zone a little and really hoping that this dish can stand on its own, senza la pasta (without the pasta)!  And so I give you my:

Potato Salad with Ricotta Pesto

I’m pretty lucky to have had an Italian Mama who actually wrote recipes down but most of them are not very specific.  Here’s what I got for ricotta pesto:

“equal parts of Basil, parlsey, olive oil, garlic and cheese with 2 cloves of garlic. Then add ricotta at the end”

Like I’ve said before… pretty much just a list of ingredients!  Here’s what I did…

For the pesto I  took the recipe of ingredients and went with the 1 cup rule:

  • 1 cup each of basil and parlsey
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese



 NOTE: You could opt to add some pine nuts (or other nut in your pesto – I did not because my Mother’s recipe didn’t call for  it.  Of course you could also use your own pesto recipe in this dish.  

 I honestly “eye balled” it a little with the Ricotta but ended up with about  1/2 a cup of ricotta and 1/4 cup of reserved hot water (from the potatoes). 

ricotta pesto

A WORD ABOUT  THE RICOTTA: I used fresh ricotta which is a little dryer then store bought ricotta – if your ricotta is watery, remove the quantity you need and place into a cheese cloth, then place  over a bowl, refrigerate and let it sit overnight to drain.  This is a good tip for any recipe calling for ricotta, especially when using it as a filling!

ALTERNATIVES: If your on a dairy free diet you could very easily make this a pesto potato salad with just olive oil and omit the cheese – just sayin!  

Potato Salad with Ricotta Pesto

Potato and string bean salad with a ricotta pesto


  • 1 lb Baby potatoes cleaned cooked and quartered
  • 1 lb string beans cleaned and cooked
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of hot reserved cooking water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook potatoes and string beans in boiling salted water until tender
  • While potatoes and string beans cook place ricotta and pesto in a large bowl
  • Before draining the potatoes reserve 1/4 cup of liquid
  • While still warm add (a little at a time) the cooking liquid to the bowl of ricotta and pesto and mix until a loose sauce begins to form - salt and pepper to taste
  • Then add the the string beans and potatoes and combine thoroughly until well coated
  • Serve warm or cold ( I think it tastes better the next day)


1. add reserved cooking water gradually - you want it to be loose but not watery.
2. Cook string beans first, in a pot of salted water and then remove with a slotted spoon and shock with cold water. Then add the potatoes to the same cooking water and cook until tender.
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