Giovanna’s Five Nut Pesto Sauce

My big brother Ted got really lucky when he married my sister-in-law Stefania. Not only is she an absolutely incredible woman that I adore, but her family is just so wonderful too. Her mother Giovanna is an opera singer from Italy. I’ll never forget the goosebumps I got when she sang at their wedding. She also happens to be ridiculously talented in the kitchen. When my own wedding to Marc came around years later, Giovanna completely blew me away with the sweetest surprise. She sent a beautiful note, a gorgeous pasta bowl, and her recipe for her favorite five nut pesto sauce. I had never had a pesto sauce like this before. It was also really easy and quick to get on the table. I tossed it with my favorite gluten-free fusilli, so this five nut pesto sauce easily became a vegetarian and gluten-free meal!

The star of five nut pesto sauce, gorgeous fresh basil!
The star of the five nut pesto sauce was definitely my gorgeous fresh basil! Summer makes me happy because of basil. I like the smell of it even more than flowers and all of the delicious things it can be used for.
The five nut pesto sauce all done! I love the color so much.
The five nut pesto sauce came together really quickly in my food processor. I kept it pretty thick but it could have been customized to any consistency with the amount of olive oil used. All of the nuts gave it so much texture and there was creaminess from two cheeses!

I also quickly cooked a pound of pasta and just tossed it with the sauce. The whole dish came together in 20 minutes! I served it in the big, pretty bowl Giovanna gave us family style with lots of extra pecorino romano cheese to sprinkle on top. This five nut pesto sauce was such a special recipe from an even more special lady. It’s pretty great having extended family like Giovanna!

Five Nut Pesto Sauce
Giovanna’s Five Nut Pesto Sauce
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Five Nut Pesto Sauce
Giovanna's Five Nut Pesto Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
  • 1 pound short pasta like fusilli or penne
  • 1 cup fresh basil packed
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley packed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese plus additional for sprinkling on top
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus additional as needed
  1. Get a large pot of water on the stove to boil and salt it generously. Cook the pasta in it until tender for about 8-10 minutes. While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, make the easy pesto sauce. Combine the basil, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, garlic, parsley, two cheeses, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse it all together until it is finely ground. Slowly pour in the olive oil until it becomes a creamy paste. If it is too thick, pulse in more olive oil until it is to your desired consistency.
  2. The pasta should be done at this point. Drain it and transfer it to a large, pretty pasta bowl. Toss it with the pesto sauce thoroughly. Serve it immediately family style with additional grated pecorino romano cheese to sprinkle on top! Enjoy!