Pistachio Pesto


Apparently, it took me all the time since pine nuts were suddenly out of my price range (years!) until this year to figure out that pistachios are the pesto substitution nut to beat all others.  I’m amazed.  It’s so obvious once you taste it.


pistachio pesto 3


It also took me a little while (but not nearly as long) to nail down some quantities for this recipe.  I get in this funny mood sometimes when I’m cooking by taste, where I just want to, um, cook by taste.  Any attempt to quantify what’s going on feels like an unwelcome intrusion of thoughts that might be interfering with my creative process. It’s funny because I’m also a fairly obsessive note-taker.  I guess it’s just hard to take the notes at the same time I’m making the thing … in any case, I tried a few times, and finally got it close, I think.

The worst that could happen is that you’ll also need to make and eat a few batches to nail down the proportions you prefer … that’ll be terrible I’m sure.


pistachio pesto 1


Pistachio Pesto

Makes about 4 servings, enough for each person to have on top of ratatouille (which is fabulous!) or pasta.  Any leftovers are delicious just spread on bread.

I’m convinced that the food processor was invented by someone who needed to make big batches of pesto in a hurry.  It pretty much the perfect tool for this.  Combine in the bowl:

pistachio pesto 41 level cup shelled unsalted pistachios

1 1/2 cups very well packed basil leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano 

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves

A generous drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil

A sprinkle of black pepper

Process until you get close to the texture you want.  Taste and adjust.  I usually end up adding a little more olive oil partway through, even though I prefer it slightly chunky and not too oily.  I find it salty enough from the cheese, but of course you can also add a little salt if you like.  I predict that if you try it, you’ll be converted, the taste is worth the shelling!


pistachio pesto 2



5 thoughts on “Pistachio Pesto

  1. I’m adding some garlic salt instead of garlic cloves, hope it’s fine, as I don’t wanna use garlic here directly…

    • Well, fresh garlic is really good in pesto, but if you don’t want to use it for whatever reason, try the garlic salt and see what you think! I’d go a little easy at first, just to keep it from getting too salty. Roasted garlic might also be really good …

      • Well, I find the garlic cloves flavor very strong. Garlic salt quenches your craving for garlic and is not strong either. I think Roasted garlic would still give a strong smell. Plz suggest 🙂

        • Roasted garlic does have a strong smell, although it’s more mellow than raw garlic. I come from a long line of garlic lovers, so I think it smells delicious! 🙂 If you don’t want it very strong, maybe start with your garlic salt. Add a little bit, stir it up, taste and see what you think. If you want it more garlicky you can try a little roasted garlic or a little more garlic salt.

          One good thing about pesto is that you can just keep adding and tasting until you get just the flavor you want. Just don’t add too much of any one thing at a time, and you’ll be fine. My suggestion would be to try your own variations, and have fun with it!

        • Hi, first of all thanks for taking so much of pain for writing something really valuable.

          Okay, I take your idea and will be adding roasted garlic, bit by bit such that it’s not over garlicky (accoring to me) and the flavor still remains. Happy Cooking 🙂

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