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#AiCooking: Basil-Pistachio Pesto

The CSA last week contained a large bunch of basil. M & I normally use basil sparingly, chopped finely and stirred into just-cooked pasta, bruschetta, or on top of homemade pizza. This much basil calls for pesto, but M doesn’t like pesto. I do, but I have been taking radish greens and making pesto from them, so my refrigerator contains two full jars of my delicious pesto, so I was at a loss as to what to do with all this basil.

Then, I remembered that I was going to a friend’s birthday party and I could make a pesto for that occasion. I researched good “dipping pestos”, which would be tasty with bread so that I could make some bread in the morning to bring to the party. The recipe that intrigued me first was Alton Brown’s Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto, which used something other than pine nuts or walnuts for the recipe. I thought that pistachios would be an interesting change from traditional pestos, but I wasn’t sure about using entirely just pistachios. I opted to use the same general ratios in Alton’s recipe, with half pistachios and half pine nuts and entirely basil instead of mixed herbs.

The recipe ended up delicious, where the pesto has a different, more complex flavor than typical pesto. The lovely pistachio aftertaste lingers and tempts me to have another bite, which makes it hard to stop eating. Sampling the first batch with multigrain corn chips was so delicious that I decided to make a second batch for myself so that we could pick at it during our monthly Game Day.

Here is the recipe that I used, modifications to my taste, as I love garlic.

Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Delicious with multigrain corn chips or crusty bread

1 large garlic clove (or two small cloves)
approximately 1.5 cups basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup roasted pistachios (shelled)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Take the pine nuts and toast them in a dry pan on the stovetop. Be careful not to burn them. I like getting them to look toasty, but they should be fine once you can smell them.

Place the toasted pine nuts, pistachios, Parmesan, basil, and garlic cloves into a food processor and blend until finely chopped. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle 1/3 cup of olive oil. Turn off the processor and taste the pesto at this point; add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the processor back on and finish adding the remaining olive oil.


(Make two batches. It will go very quickly.)

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