Pistachio Pesto

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I’ve always loved pesto. Genovese pesto, sundried tomato pesto, walnut pesto, cilantro pesto….basically, anything pesto!  It’s a brilliant sauce because it mixes so many flavors and textures into a power punch that dresses up any dish. However, it wasn’t until I tried pistachio pesto that my heart skipped a beat.

While living in Spain, our friend Lucia would routinely return to her hometown in Sicily. Knowing that we loved good food, she would bring me back wonderful treats.  They would range from pistachio-laced pastries, dried pastas and condiments to her mother’s homemade arancini. One day, she brought back pistachio pesto. I was intrigued by how it would taste and  headed home with a plan to enjoy that jar of pesto that evening.

That was the start of a love affair that has traveled halfway around the world and led to countless attempts at recreating the recipe. I’ve tried and tweaked it as much as possible to mimic the pistachio pesto I would receive from Sicily. Purchase good quality pistachios since they are the main ingredient in the recipe. Your pesto will appreciate it. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as my family does.

Note: This pesto freezes very well. I usually mix up several batches and then freeze them in containers perfect for my husband and I to enjoy for dinner. It makes for a great (and easy!) mid-week dinner.

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Pistachio Pesto
Serving: 6

7 oz. unsalted roasted shelled pistachios (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP chopped basil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup finely shredded pecorino cheese (cut into chunks)

Blend pistachios in food processor until coarsely chopped. Add oil, basil, garlic clove and cheese. Pulse until smooth.

Use immediately, or store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also freeze pesto for several months.

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