Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Rustic Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Pistachios may be my favorite nut.  It's always such a dilemma choosing gelato flavors when I'm in Italy in the summer.  I love chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio and crema (creme patisserie flavored).  I obviously can't get all four, so I always have to somehow choose two.  Yes, yes, me and my first world problems.  Anyway, that's what I usually associate pistachios with -- gelato.  I rarely have it in any other form, especially not so much in savory dishes.   The thing with these pesto sauces is that it's so incredibly versatile, use whatever nut or herb you have available.  And adjust the quantities of all these ingredients to your liking. 

You can make this in a food processor if you wish, or make it like this, it's rustic and different.  It's made with mortar and pestle.  Reserve some whole nuts and herbs at the end for garnish.  It's great for a summer garden party.  I brought this along to a BBQ.  

Serves 3-4
300g penne pasta
30g  pistachio
20g pine nuts
60g basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil (or more)
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
½ cup parmesan
salt and pepper
1 large garlic clove 

Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add about a tbsp of coarse sea salt and add the pasta.  Cook until aldente, drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
Chop the basil leaves.  With a mortar and pestle, grind the pine nut, pistachio, garlic together. Add the basil leaves, the parmesan, olive oil, yoghurt.  Season. Mix with pasta and if it's too dry add a bit of the pasta water. 

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