parsley-pistachio pesto

I love basil pesto, so when I saw a recipe for parsley pesto in the June issue of Bon Appetit, I immediately earmarked it. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to making it until a few days ago (I say unfortunately because had I made this any sooner, it’s pretty much all I’d be eating on pasta this summer).

And it’s not exactly that recipe either. When I had a look on their website, they had, in addition to the bright parsley pesto, a recipe for pistachio pesto. I love both parsley and pistachios, and I really wanted to try them together. When I decided to make this, I didn’t have all of the ingredients each recipe called for (I wanted to try something different anyway), and I was worried it wouldn’t work, but it really, really did.

This pesto is a deep green color, and the flavors are really bright without being overpowering. I made this with spaghetti for lunch with friends a couple of days ago, and everyone’s bowl was left squeaky clean, with pesto remnants getting scooped up with crusty bread. I’m now obsessed with trying to make pesto out of pretty much anything and everything, so let me know if you’ve tried any combinations you’ve really enjoyed!

Parsley-Pistachio Pesto

Makes enough to coat a 500g packet of spaghetti; serves 6

  • 3 cups fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped into fine ribbons
  • 2/3 cup pistachios (shelled, unsalted)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve 2 cups of the water.

While the water is boiling / pasta is cooking:

Place pistachios in a non-stick pan, on low heat for a few minutes. Roast gently until you can smell their nuttiness, then remove from heat (avoid browning), and allow to cool.

Place all of the ingredients except for the mint in a food processor, and pulse until you have a thick, smooth paste. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Toss the pesto with the pasta, and add some of the reserved pasta water—one spoonful at a time, you may not need all of it—until the pasta is coated and you have a sauce with a light, almost creamy consistency. Add the mint and stir one more.

Serve with extra chopped pistachios and a little bit of parmesan on top.