You’re going to want to jump right into this pistachio pesto recipe. No joke. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Seriously. You’re going to have to trust me on this one and make this recipe. This pesto is so light and airy you’ll want to add it to everything. Want to know the secret? Let’s take a look at how you can make this right in your kitchen.
This pistachio pesto recipe is: Gluten Free, Low Carb, Light & Fluffy.
The Best Pistachio Pesto Recipe
In October, 2016 we went on a tour of Northern Italy for a couple weeks. It was incredible. We ate so much fantastic food that I ran out of adjectives after the first week. I just kind of started saying “bwahwah so good…” as we dashed from restaurant to restaurant.
The last afternoon we stopped in a small coastal town called Sestri Levante, near Cinque Terre. The historic downtown is completely magical with beautifully painted buildings and a pedestrian area showcasing excellent shops. This is where we found a pasta shop which made fresh pasta daily… and had the most amazing pesto sauce we had ever tasted.
Well, we just stopped back in Sestri Levante on our way home from Tuscany. I made it a point to stop in and get more pesto. I asked how it was so light and creamy. In the way only a true Italian can say (with a smile too) “it’s Ric-ott-a.”
So if you want to know the secret to making the best pesto: it’s ricotta. After a couple attempts, I figured out the recipe and am sharing it with you! It’s heavenly.
How to make pistachio pesto
Making pistachio pesto is relatively easy. The hardest part is finding shelled pistachios here in France. In the States, they are everywhere. Here’s my thought on this… it only took me about 5 minutes to shell the 1/2 cup needed. Not a big deal.
Once you have the shelled pistachios, find yourself a beautiful bunch of fresh basil. I just stick my face right into the bunch and let the aroma really smash me in the face. Basil makes me happy.
Look for the freshest ricotta you can find. If you find some in a plastic container that has a basket suspended inside, you know you’re on the right track. You’re not going to use the whole container for this batch, so you’ll have to figure out another recipe to finish it off.
From there, it’s really up to you what you want to put into the mix. I’m a fan of garlic, lemon and parmesan. If you want to add in some mint or other aromatics, go ahead and experiment.
After you gather up all your ingredients, process them well with an immersion blender or a food processor. For this pistachio pesto, go ahead an process it more than you might a typical pesto. It will add more air and make it lighter.
How to use pistachio pesto
Using the pistachio pesto is easy. Here are some ideas on what to use it with:
- Pasta. Find something with nooks and crannies. The sauce will get trapped, making little pockets bursting with flavor.
- Chicken. Bake some chicken tenders seasoned only with salt and pepper. Top with the pesto and dig in with both fists.
- Wings. Yes. Grilled wings lightly coated in this pesto are mouthwatering. The recipe is coming out in the next couple days for this combo.
- Pork. Slice a pork tenderloin into medallions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute in a pan and top with the pesto and red pepper flakes. You’ll thank me later.
- Fish. If you somehow find yourself with the tasteless tilapia, go ahead and saute in a pan with some clarified butter until nice and crusty. Add some lemon and smother in the pistachio pesto.
- Scallops. Pan sear scallops in a very hot pan with rendered bacon fat. Sprinkle with lemon zest and place a dollop of pesto right on each scallop for a divine experience.
- Lamb. Grill some lamb chops. Make the pistachio pesto and dip the grilled lamb chops right into the pesto. KAPOW. Smashed in the chops with flavor.
- Shrimp. In a large saute pan, add olive oil, butter and garlic. Saute the shrimp, drizzle with some fresh lemon juice and add the pesto right into the pan. Toss to coat. Be prepared to make enemies of your closest friends.
- Pizza. Make your own dough, roll it thin and par bake. Add a thin layer of olive oil and coat with the pistachio pesto. Liberally cover with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and chopped bacon. Bake and top with arugula. An etherial experience.
Final thoughts on the Pistachio Pesto Recipe:
Don’t love pistachios? No problem. Go ahead and use cashews, walnuts, almonds or pine nuts. They will all turn out delicious.
The only downfall of this recipe that I’ve found is the inability to freeze it. Why is that a downfall? It’s hard to find basil during the winter and I’d love to have this on hand. The problem is simple: when it thaws the “airiness” disappears, which is the real draw to this recipe.
On the other hand, I haven’t made a batch yet which hasn’t disappeared within hours of it being made. I think you’re going to love this yummy pistachio pesto recipe. Give it a try today!
A light, fluffy and delightfully playful pistachio pesto which pairs perfectly with fish, chicken, pork, veggies, chips and more. Wonderful for dipping!
- 2 Cups Basil Leaves Fresh. Torn with stems removed.
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Minced
- 1/2 Cup Pistachio Nutmeats
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Shallot Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice Fresh.
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Shredded
- 1/3 Cup Ricotta
- 1 Pinch Salt & Pepper
Using an immersion blender or a food processor, process the pistachios and really get them well blended.
Remove the ground pistachios and set aside.
Add the torn basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, shallot and lemon juice. Process well.
Add the ricotta and ground pistachios. Process well.
Add in the parmesan, salt and pepper. Process well.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If your pistachio pesto is too thick, add in some more olive oil to thin the mixture out a bit.
Looking for a bit of a kick? Add in some red pepper flakes. It tastes so good.
Pistachio pesto also loves a hint of fresh mint too... particularly if you are serving it with pork or lamb. Absolutely delightful.
Go ahead an scoop some up with a slice of cucumber or even a spoonful by itself. It's so damn good.