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Pesto di Pistacchi

November 29, 2011

This is one of those things I was totally expecting to hate. I mean, it’s nearly entirely made of nuts. And nuts and I, for reasons unexplained, have never been friends. As of late, however, I’ve been enjoying in moderation certain nut-related things; so, when presented with linguine doused in this pistachio pesto, I gave it an enthusiastic whirl.

And you know what? It was super great. Like, surprisingly delicious. Nutty, yet….good. Edible nut-based food that I really enjoyed. Obviously words are failing me. The point is: this is tasty stuff. Plus, it’s a lil bit fancy while being the easiest thing since throwing grated cheese and butter on your noodles and calling it a day (which we did yesterday for lunch).

I’m making this tonight for dinner and am a little nervous my flavor-loving father will find it too subtle. It’s not exactly as wham-bam as some pastas we know and love – it’s special. I think it’ll be the perfect starter for a subtle main course (tonight’s: magret de canard) when you don’t want to mask delicate flavors with a first course exploding with tomato sauce or spiciness or cheeseapalooza.

And since our two-month-old was up at 6 am ready to boogie, something easy to throw together is high on my list of priorities. To make pistachio pesto, all you do is grind together pistachios, olive oil, Parmesan and orange juice – orange juice! That’s it. You just plop everything in the food processor – or, in my case, a manual Chop-It – and voilà! Magic delicious nut pesto! Orange juice on pasta! Everyone is shocked and everyone is happy.


Thanks, Cristina, for introducing us to this great recipe, which I’ve found conveniently converted to our measurements at La Cucina italiana Magazine. The first time I made it myself, I felt that something was lacking, so the second time I upped the amount of orange juice and it got two even more enthusiastic thumbs up (my changes are reflected below). Makes enough for a pound (500 grams) of pasta, or about 6 first course or 4 main course servings. If you don’t use it all, it will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup orange juice

120 grams / 3/4 cup pistachios (de-shelled)

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients. Pulse to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Done!

N.B.: My photos show a much less creamy pesto than what you will get if you use a food processor, so don’t think you’ve screwed up if yours doesn’t look like mine: creamy is good!

For pasta, use long pasta such as spaghetti or linguine. Boil pasta until al dente, then drain and toss together with pesto and a pad of butter or so

me extra olive oil, stirring over low heat for a minute to bring everything together. Serve with extra whole pistachios on top if desired.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2011 4:32 pm

    I love pasta and I love pistachios. Can’t wait to try them together!

    Happy Holidays with your little turkey!


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