Sicilian Pistachio Pesto
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Sicilian Pistachio Pesto

The culinary world has a lot to thank Sicily for; Tarocco blood oranges, Femminello lemons, Nocellara del Belice olives and their own homegrown emeralds – Bronte pistachios. With their deep-purple skins and vibrant green kernels, Bronte pistachios are smaller, sweeter and carry a more intense flavour than other pistachios. They are grown on the fertile, mineral-rich slopes of Mount Etna which make these babies the green-gold of Sicily.

Pistachio pesto is a deeply traditional Sicilian culinary tradition and it is usually served with Orecchiette. Replacing the typical Ligurian pine nuts of pesto with pistachios adds a fruitier, fresher flavour to pesto with an intensely vibrant colour.

If you’re lucky enough to own a large pestle and mortar then I’ll really encourage you to take the time to pound your ingredients in it instead of using a blender. Pounding with a pestle and mortar releases more of the essential oils, giving you a more intense flavour. It also serves as a free therapy session. If you don’t own a pestle and mortar big enough, that is ok and a blender will do the job just fine.

I’d hate to upset the Sicilian culinary police so I have to disclose that typical Sicilian pesto does not contain garlic. I, however find it difficult to not add garlic to everything so I’ve included a heady addition of garlic to my recipe. I’ll leave the decision in your hands as to whether you want to break purity by adding garlic or not – it’s good both ways.

Sicilian Pistachio Pesto

Sicilian Pistachio Pesto

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Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes

Replacing the typical Ligurian pine nuts of pesto with pistachios adds a fruitier, fresher flavour to pesto with an intensely vibrant colour.

Ingredients

  • 100 g pistachio nuts

  • 1 garlic clove (omit if you want or just use half)

  • 1 handful basil leaves

  • 1 handful mint leaves

  • 20 g parmesan cheese

  • 70 ml olive oil

  • squeeze lemon juice

  • sea salt & pepper, to season

Directions

  • Add the pistachios, garlic and herbs to a pestle and mortar and grind to a rough paste. Use a blender here if you don’t have a pestle and mortar.
  • Mix in the olive oil and parmesan until combined. Grind further if you want a smoother consistency
  • Taste and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Serve with pasta, on fish, meat or as a simple dip.

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