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.
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.
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:
1 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!