Tuesday, June 8, 2010
About a month ago, I was at the store, standing in the bulk section staring at the pistachios and wondering how much of them I should buy. I was planning on making a carmelized pistachio tart, and I am the type that would rather have too much over too little, so I dove right into the shelled pistachio bin and filled my bag generously...not looking at the price per pound on the little green nuts. When I arrived home, I realized that I just spent over $40 on pistachios! I had no idea that organic shelled roasted pistachios cost so much! The tart ended up only using about 2 cups...so I had at least 4 left over (yes, I bought over 6 cups)...so I learned a valuable lesson that day...always look at price per pound on bulk items before filling up your bag! Thank goodness I wasn't buying pine nuts, because last time I looked I saw that organic can run you $39 a lb! So with my pricey pistachios, I have been trying to come up with new recipes that use them in tasty ways. One easy recipe that came to mind was pesto. Why not substitute one classic expensive nut (pine nut) for another? So I made my classic basil pesto with the pistachios instead of pine nuts. It turned out a very lovely green different than the normal color of my pesto. But what was important was that the pesto was mighty tasty! I tossed it with some orzo pasta, more pistachios, cherry tomatoes and snap peas for a satisfying meal! Cooked shrimp would be wonderful in this if you want to add even more protein...which I often do. Here is the recipe if you happen to have some pistachios on hand...or simply want to try out a new pesto pasta recipe! And of course, you don't have to use the organic shelled expensive ones...if you shelled them yourself it would be a whole lot cheaper, but taste just as good of course!
1/4 cup roasted pistachios
In a food processor, combine oil, pistachios, basil, pecorino romano, lemon juice and sea salt and pepper to taste in a food processor, and process until smooth, adding a little water to smooth out, and more if a thinner consistency is desired. Set pesto aside. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water, and when done cooking, reserve about 1/3 cup of pasta water, and drain pasta. Place pasta back in the pot, and combine with the pesto, peas, and tomatoes, along with enough water to thin out pesto to a smooth consistency on the pasta. Place on a serving plate, sprinkle with pistachios and pecorino and serve!