I love pesto and basil remains my favourite herb/vegetable base. However, I’m not too strict when it comes to nuts. This recipe for pistachio pesto pasta pairs fragrant basil with sweet pistachios for a delicious alternative to classic pesto.
This recipe is vegetarian. It can be made gluten-free and/or low-carb depending on the pasta or pasta substitute you choose. I used Barilla red lentil penne but feel free to use your favourite pasta.
As usual, I roast the garlic before mixing it with the rest of ingredients. However, I don’t recommend firing the oven just to roast it. Instead, pop it in the oven while you are roasting other foods or use a toaster oven.
Cheese-wise, I used Pecorino instead of the more orthodox Parmesan just because I like it better. Please feel free to use whichever you prefer or have in hand.
Finally, depending on the type of pasta you use, you might want to add extra protein to your meal. Sardines or other types of fish are great choices. Peruvians would normally add a huge beef schnitzel on top. Great plant-based options are cooked lentils or beans, mixed through with the pasta and sauce.
Pistachio pesto pasta
- 250g dried pasta
- 1 bunch basil
- 1/2 cup pistachio kernels
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino (see notes above)
- 1 garlic clove, preferably roasted (see notes above)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper
- extra grated cheese
- Boil water to cook the pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, place basil, pistachios, cheese and garlic in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Process or pound until a coarse paste starts to form.
- Add olive oil and lemon and process to desired texture. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
- Once pasta is al dente, drain pasta and return to the pot. Add pesto and mix well.
- Serve with extra grated cheese, a side salad and extra protein if desired (see notes above).