After a month of some heavy baking, I’ve been in the mood for no-fuss, no-muss cooking. And there is no easier recipe for it than pistachio pesto. With a bright taste and a creamy texture, pesto is genuine comfort food for me.
It asks for 6 ingredients and no time. Even my tea demands more than that. And once I have the jar of pesto ready, it’s an absolute pleasure to use it for all sorts of dishes, from pasta to sandwiches to salads.
What is pesto?
Pesto is a sauce born in the soils of Italy. Basil is the soul, and nuts, garlic, olive oil, and cheese form its body. A well-made pesto is incredibly memorable; it’s earthy, it’s savory, and it’s bright. And no, you don’t taste the oil or the garlic...they just help the herb to shine.
The reason I love making pesto is the endless possibilities it offers. Over the years, I’ve made many variations of it by switching an ingredient here and there. After you’ve tried (and loved) the pistachio pesto, give the rest of them a shot.
How to make pistachio pesto?
- Put all your dry ingredients – basil, pistachio, garlic, cheese, and pepper – in a blender and blitz.
- Slowly add in a stream of olive oil and then blend again till everything breaks down.
- At this point, the choice is yours. You can continue processing to make a silky sauce. Or stop while it’s still textured and looks like a coarse paste.
- Taste and adjust for salt. I did not add the salt with the dry ingredients in the beginning because Parmesan already has it.
- Add a splash of lemon juice to brighten the flavor, if you like.
Creamy pistachio pesto Q&A
Can you use a food processor for pesto?
Of course, both a blender and a food processor work well for the recipe. You can even go traditional with a mortar and pestle. It takes a little more effort but, trust me, the outcome is a remarkable mix of fragrance and flavor because the hand moment gently coaxes the oils from the leaves.
If you’re confused, let the texture make the decision for you. The blender makes the creamiest pesto, and the mortar and pestle the most textured. The food processor is somewhere in the middle.
Should you toast the nuts in pesto?
Toasting the pistachios is not a mandatory step, but if you want more depth of flavor, go ahead. Lightly toasting the nuts lends a lovely, intense taste.
Why is my pesto discolored, and can you eat pesto that has turned brown?
Sometimes pesto made at home turns brown because of oxidation. It’s perfectly safe to eat. It’s just brownish instead of green.
So, how do you keep pesto green?
One, blanch your basil leaves for a couple of seconds before you blend them. Two, add lemon juice. It helps. Three, top it with enough olive oil.
How to store pistachio pesto?
The pesto keeps well for 2 to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
Ingredient swaps for pistachio pesto
Nuts: A conventional pesto recipe calls for pine nuts. But you don’t have to limit yourselves to them. Use pistachio, as I did in this recipe. They’re healthy and impart a subtle sweetness, making the flavor rather distinct from other nuts.
What I really like is the delicate crunch they add and the smooth rich pistachio flavor. Try walnuts, as I did for walnut rocket pesto. Almonds and pecans are fantastic too.
Herbs: Feel free to swap basil with parsley or combine the two greens.
Cheese: Parmesan gives pesto creaminess and body. Increase the amount, reduce it, or leave it out altogether (if you’re looking for a vegan pistachio pesto recipe). The choice is yours.
Add-ins: The zippy pesto really doesn’t need any additions, but if you’re feeling inspired, I’d suggest lemon zest and chili flakes.
How to serve and use pistachio pesto?
Pesto is a fantabulous condiment to have on hand. It dons many hats: sauce, dip, or marinade.
- It is scrumptious with roasted vegetables. Use it to marinate the veggies, and you’ll have a dish worthy of odes.
- Add a dollop of it to cooked pasta. Top with chopped pistachios and olive oil. And voilà, you have an instant dish ready.
- Keep it simple and dip bread, crackers, baked potatoes, or crudités into it.
- Spread it on your sandwiches, pizza, or even eggs.
- Mix it with cooked rice.
- Or dress your salad with it. Think cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
Love pesto? Use it in these recipes:
- 2 cup Fresh Basil
- 1/2 cup Pistachio, shelled
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 3-4 cloves Garlic
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a blender or food processor.
- Blend until everything is almost chopped, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
- Blend until a smooth paste is formed. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Transfer to a bowl or an air-tight container. Drizzle some olive oil on top. Serve and enjoy!
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