It’s about this time last year that an Italian friend and then-colleague returned from his Christmas holiday. He had been visiting family in Sicily and brought me back a little jar of pesto. It was green and had all the hallmarks of a regular basil pesto, but it was in fact made from pistachios. I could tell that he was a big fan of pistachio pesto and was certain that I would be too – he couldn’t wait for me to try it.
I have to admit I harboured some tiny doubts – I’m used to the kick of basil, sun-dried tomato, or even chilli in the supermarket versions. Was the flavour going to be too subtle? Was there going to be an unpleasant nutty/grainy texture when the pesto is stirred into pasta? Was it going to just be, dare I say it, bland? Well, no, no, and goodness no.
Yes, it’s not like regular pesto, but Oh. My. you won’t be thinking about any other pesto if you‘re eating this. The soft, subtle flavour and the buttery-ness that the pistachios create when they’re blended into a good quality olive oil are just perfect. It’s like a warm cuddle in a bowl! Curl up with this on a cold evening and it’ll see you through winter.
It’s so incredibly simple – just pistachios, olive oil, and seasoning. I’ve seen some recipes for pistachio pesto where they still use basil, lemon or something else to zhuzh it up, but why? It doesn’t need zhuzhing! Also, pistachios aren’t cheap, so why would you hide their flavour? Let’s be frank here, if you just wanted the texture you should be using something else. This recipe aims to show the ingredients the respect they deserve. Yes pistachios and good quality olive oil aren’t cheap – they’re not meant to be – but they’re the only ingredients in this recipe aside from seasoning, plus the result is absolute pleasure which makes it all worth it in my view.
Makes about 1 jar
1 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Blend the pistachios with the olive oil. Add more olive oil if you want a thinner consistency. Season to taste.
2. Stir into pasta and enjoy. Can be stored in a sterilised jar for up to a week.
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