Pistachio Pesto Pasta – a Sicilian Classic
March 13, 2013
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I saw this recipe in a recent Bon Appetit and thought it fit right in to our Pasta Wednesday theme – easy, throw together quickly, healthy and delicious – even if it is hard to say! It reminded me of another no-cook pasta sauce we posted a couple of years ago that had a variety of nuts but basically the same approach. This recipe is a little less fancy, qualifying it for a perfect weeknight meal. I love cooking with mint and nuts which are ubiquitous ingredients in Sicilian cooking. (I must take a trip there one day.) The quantities listed made a lot of pesto so I had a chance to experiment with different pastas. I had it as a main dish on bow-tie pasta served with a salad. I served, as you see in the photo, as a side dish to salmon. While I liked it both ways, it’s very rich so I thought is was better as a side dish. An Italian white wine is a perfect match, even better if you can find one from Sicily where they are a little on the richer side.
1/2 pound pasta makes 3 main and 4 side servings
1 cup roasted pistachios, shelled
3/4 cup diced plum tomato (2 tomatoes)
1 large garlic clove or 2 small
a handful of fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
a handful of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon EV olive oil
1/2-1 pound dried pasta, whole wheat recommended
Pulse the first 6 ingredients in a food processor until coarsely pureed. Turn into a bowl and add the olive oil. Stir until creamy, a bit like chunky peanut butter. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain and rinse the pasta. Return to the pot and add 1/2 cup of the pesto per 1/2 pound pasta. Add a little of the pasta water and stir to blend thoroughly. Add enough of the pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Keep on the heat to heat through before serving.
NOTE: The pesto can be refrigerated and used at a later date or used as a sandwich spread.