Like pretty much all of the recipes I share with you, this
one is only as good as its ingredients. The pistachios need to be
flavorful, the parsley fresh and perky, and the cheese delicious. I love the addition of whole pistachios, leaves of parsley, and
extra grated cheese to be scattered over the platted pesto pasta - the varied
texture of the deconstructed pesto elements gives this classic a refreshing new life.
- pasta of your liking
- 1/2 cup pistachios, roasted (or if raw follow my roasting suggestions below)
- 2 cup loosely packed Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup finely grated Piave (if you cannot find Piave, you can just use Parmesan)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (plus some extra for the table)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat a large pot of pasta water while you make the pesto.
If you are using raw pistachios, do the following.... Heat a
skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Toss in the raw
pistachios and give them a shake occasionally to ensure even browning.
It should take about 5-7 minutes to toast the pistachios this way. Set
pistachios aside to cool to room temp before using. They will firm up a
bit as they cool to room temp.
For garnish later, set aside 1/4 cup roasted whole pistachios, 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, 1/4 cup mixed grated cheeses.
out your blender. Place remaining pistachios in the blender and
pulse until the nuts are very coarsely chopped.
(I think this coarse texture really makes the dish). Add remaining
parsley leaves and pulse again a few times to blend. Add just enough
olive oil to make the mixture move - about 1/2 cup. Add garlic, remaining
grated cheese, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Barely blend in
order to preserve that coarse texture. Taste to see if you'd like
additional salt or pepper. Add if needed.
Cook your pasta.
pesto onto piles of warm pasta. Scatter a few whole pistachios and
parsley leaves over each plate. Pass the grated cheese, salt, pepper
grinder, and even a little dish with extra pesto.
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