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.