Pistachio Pesto.


This dish is one of those things that makes me think about how amazing and wonderful the produce of this land can be.

Every year, my aunt goes to Lampedusa, an islet just south of Sicily, for her vacation. Every time she brings back delicacies such as fennel liquor, fresh capers and local flavorful seasonings.

But my favorite gift are always the pistachios.

These bright, brilliant green and purple speckled pepitas sparkle like gems in your hands, and the real fresh Bronte pistachios have the unrivaled aroma that is always far superior to anything you could find on a shelf.

I figured the best way to take advantage of this precious gift was to make pesto. Here I use it on top of pasta, but it can be easily spread over bruschetta, pizza, on salads, sandwiches and on pretty much everything you can think of.

There is only one rule for good pesto: do not be afraid of the oil. I know, all that oil is really intimidating. kind of like having to kill the chicken yourself if you wanted to eat chicken: you probably wouldn’t do it. It’s kindathe same situation, adding all that oil. but you need it. You do.

Here is how to make pistachio pesto, describing both the blender and the mortar and pestle methods.


linguinepist2Pistachio Pesto
(makes a half cup)

80g Pistachios, toasted
20g Almonds, toasted
6-8 basil leaves
20g Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A pinch of salt
A very small garlic clove, or half a regular one

First, toast the nuts and rub them in a towel to get rid of the skins.
Then pick your method.

If using a blender:
Just add all the ingredients but the oil to a food processor, and blitz to chop all the ingredients. Add the oil a little at a time, until you get to a rough pesto consistency.

If using a mortar and pestle:
Add the salt and garlic and pound them together first. Then, add the basil. Once a brilliant green paste forms, start adding the nuts a little at a time. Alternate them with the cheese halfway through, and add the oil a little at a time once the paste starts getting too thick. It will take some patience, but the final result is very rewarding.

This quantity will dress about 300g pasta, enough as a main course for 3 people. If using for pasta, thin it out with a couple tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and, if needed more olive oil.


  • Add a tablespoon of ricotta. It adds another layer of depth to any pesto.
  • Change the herbs: try sage, parsley or mint, or a mix of everything.

Next time you have these green jewels in your hands, think about pesto. They will only accept to be used as protagonists.


Nutrition (as per tablespooon, provided there are 6 tablespoons):
14g Carbohydrate
  – 2g Fiber
5g Protein
20g Fat

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