Pasta with Basil Pistachio Pesto

June 9th, 2011 by Erin Gennow
Pasta with Basil Pistachio Pesto

Pasta with Basil Pistachio Pesto

Pasta with Basil Pistachio Pesto

Here’s another pesto pasta, but this time using pistachios in place of pine nuts.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, pesto is great because it’s a flavorful sauce that is quick to make.  This pesto would also be delicious spread on a flatbread.

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6 servings


1 lb. pasta (I like any short pasta with curls or ridges, such as fusilli)

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed, plus extra for garnishing

1 garlic clove, peeled and coarsely chopped

¼ cup pistachios

⅓ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, excellent quality oil

½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or Asiago, freshly grated, plus more for topping

Fine sea salt and/or kosher salt


A food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle


Put a large 7-quart (or larger) pot of water on to boil.  When the water comes to a boil add a large handful of kosher (or sea) salt.  Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.

While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking make the pesto.

Wash and dry the basil.  Peel the garlic clove and coarsely chop it.  Measure out ¼ cup of pistachios.  Measure out ½ cup olive oil.  Grate ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

In the bowl of a food processor (a mini one is fine), or in a blender jar, place in the 1 cup of packed basil leaves, the coarsely chopped garlic clove, ¼ cup pistachios, and the ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Process everything until it is chopped fine.  Now, with the processor or blender running, slowly drizzle ⅓ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil into the feed tube.  The pesto should be like a thin paste.  Taste for salt and if necessary add a bit of fine sea salt and pulse the processor a few times to combine.

When the pasta is done cooking, reserve some pasta water (about 1 cup) and drain the pasta.  Add the pasta to a large bowl.  Pour the Basil Pistachio Pesto over the pasta.  Stir to coat the pasta with the pesto.  Add a bit of pasta water to help coat the pasta with the pesto.  Sprinkle with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve!


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