This week has been a bit challenging. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen on my stories that I had surgery last week. For a year, I was struggling with my breathing and sinus issues. As someone who is on an aircraft several times a month, this became literally “a pain”. Surgery went well and I’ve been recuperating at home while being taken care of by my lovely fam. But here’s the thing, I’m not used to being the one taken care of. I love doing stuff for others, I take comfort in making dinner for Warren and the girls, so this week I managed to cook a thing or two including this Pistachio Pesto.
If you haven’t made pesto at home before, I’ll give you a few tips because homemade pesto is truly a thing of beauty. Fresh, green, saucy and nutty, this no-cook sauce makes everything better. Not only do I use it for pasta, but it is heavenly folded into slow-cooked scrambled eggs, thinned out with olive oil as a luscious dressing for salads, or dolloped over soups, toast and pizza. Lets start with the key ingredients.
Use the best quality olive oil that you can find. I bring several bottles of olive oil when I travel to Venice, but find equally delicious brands at home. You want the flavour to be slightly floral and not too strong. Extra-virgin olive oil on this recipe is a plus.
Sure you can use arugula, kale and cilantro. Basil and parsley are just meant to me and the liquorice taste of the basil is what gives this iconic sauce, most of its flavour. I grow both in my garden with the sole purpose to make infinite amounts of pesto jars during the summer. I leave one jar in the fridge and freeze the rest.
When it comes to garlic on this recipe, use my 4 cloves as a guideline. I’m a garlic lover and would add it to anything short of dessert. What would hummus be without garlic? or babaganoush? Same with pesto, it needs to be present and as you read in my recipe, VERY present 🙂 To start, add 2 cloves and see if that’s enough for you. You can always add more, just make sure you use fresh cloves.
Now if you’ve ever made pesto at home, you’ve probably used pine nuts. As much as I love pine nuts in pesto, why not try something different? In the past I’ve used walnuts, pecans and almonds, but it wasn’t until making this pistachio pesto, that I found my go-to. The one I’ll be making over and over again because of how incredibly fragrant, and flavourful they are on this recipe. Make sure you toast them lightly and let them cool before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.
Two words. Parmigiano -Reggiano. It’s up to you if you want to use Pecorino Romano, but I find Parmigiano has a tangy and sharp flavour that when paired with the olive oil, herbs, nuts and garlic, makes everything come together nicely. The cheese keeps its crumbly texture giving the pesto a distinctively fruity flavour. For more on one of my favourite cheeses, check this out.
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Yes, not traditional at all, I know. But a squeeze of lemon juice not only gives this pistachio pesto another layer of flavour but also helps the pesto not to oxidize (or turn brown) too quickly. To further avoid this little issue, cover your pesto with a film of plastic wrap set directly on top of the sauce, then refrigerate until you are ready to use it. Pesto also freezes beautifully. Thaw it overnight in the fridge and you are good to go for the next day.
A few tablespoons in…
So many things! Freshly made tomato sauce, frittatas, Skakshuka, grain bowls. Endless possibilities. This week though, has been a week of very easy meals at home. I roasted some vine tomatoes in olive oil and sea salt for about 12 minutes – at 350 F-, tossed a few tablespoons of pesto in spaghetti a la chitarra (similar to spaghetti but the noodles are square, egg based and delicious)
After the noddles were coated in pesto, I topped the spaghetti with the roasted tomatoes and added fresh Mozzarella torn into pieces. A simple meal for a week where comfort food is all I’ve craved. If you make this Pistachio Pesto and would like to share it with me on instagram, I would love to see how you used it!
- 3 cups basil, tightly packed-leaves only
- 3 cups parsley, tightly packed-leaves only
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup pistachios, lightly toasted
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked blak pepper
- 1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Place the basil, parsley and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until the herbs and garlic are coarsely chopped.
- Add the salt, pepper and pistachios. Pulse for a 5- 8 seconds.
- Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until all ingredients are incorporated. I like to process my pesto not until is completely smooth, but leaving a bit of texture in the mixture.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape pesto into a medium bowl. Add the parmesan cheese, folding until combined.
- Divide the pesto into 3 sterilized jars.