Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pistachio Pesto

I have never been a big pesto fan. I know, strange considering the Italian family I grew up in but it just never tasted right to me. Even the addition of cream, which is fantastic in this dish by the way, did not do it for me. UNTIL, I met this lil' beauty of a recipe. I think the addition of spinach balances out the sometimes overbearing basil flavor and pistachio's, come on ya'll, you can never go wrong with pistachios!!

pistachio pesto
Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking Food Blog.

1 c basil, packed (which means pack it down into a cup to make sure you have a good amount)
1/4 c spinach (i used spinach/arugula mix)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T pistachio's, toasted
1/4 c Parmesan, grated (I only use reggiano-it does taste different in my opinion)
3 T evoo
lemon juice, to taste and loosen

Peel pistachio's and place in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast.  You can tell when they are done when they change color a lil but more if you stick your nose near the pan and you can smell them. (FYI- the first time I made this recipe I forgot to toast the pistachio's and it didn't wreck the sauce so if you feel like skipping this step---go for it!)

After toasting, throw all the ingredients into food processor and process away.

This picture below is what it looked like without the lemon juice and with only the 3 T of evoo.  Seemed to need more processing and more liquid. Added the juice from 2 slices of lemon and processed further....Still a lil lumpy, added one more T of evoo and.....


The moral of the story is cook with your nose and your eyes people.  This isn't rocket science. It's cooking and if you add to much just throw in some more basil/spinach.)  It will always be recoverable.

IMPORTANT:  When making pesto on pasta--- 9 times out of 10 the pesto is not "saucy" enough and the noodles will suck it up and be dry.  It is important to save some of your pasta water that you cooked the noodles in.  This water has left over starch so not only will it loosen your will stick to the noodles, meld with the pesto and not just puddle up at the bottom of the bowl.

Now, you can use this pesto for almost anything.  Potato salad, just on some plain pulled chicken and placed on a salad/sandwich, over pasta with chicken (displayed), and then of course the "CREAM OPTION" which is what my mother would always suggest.  Cream Option: cook some noodles, place 1/3 c of pesto in pan to warm (medium low to medium heat).  Once it warms a little and starts to loosen, just add some heavy cream.  I would guess a couple T would do it, mix, put on noodles and try to ignore the thought of your rear end growing! (just kidding- what can a couple silly tablespoons of cream do? Nothing I say, NOTHING!)

Happy Eating.

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