Pistachio Pesto

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups

Pesto is the best quick sauce or garnish as it easily adds deep, rich flavor to any dish. Classically made with pignoli nuts, this version uses toasted pistachios. If pistachios are not your favorite or readily available, use hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans. Whichever nut you decide to use, toast them first to intensify their flavor.
Pesto keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator or it also freezes well.

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, quartered
1/3 cup skinned pistachios, toasted*
1/2 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or 1/4 cup each Parmesan and Romano cheese)
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste

Place basil, garlic, and toasted nuts in a blender or food processor and blend to a puree, scraping down the sides of the container a couple of times. Add the oil and blend just to mix. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the cheese, pepper, and salt to taste. Use or refrigerate.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a cake pan and toast 7-10 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

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