Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pricey Pistachios?

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!

Orzo with Pistachio Pesto

Serves 2 generously

1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup roasted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup basil
1/4 cup shredded pecorino romano
juice one lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
water as needed
sea salt
8 oz orzo
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios
2 Tbsp shredded pecorino romano
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!


The Housewife said...

I love playing around with Pesto! Pistachios sound great :)

Roxan said...

I don't have a food processor, can you believe that? I've been waiting to move to a bigger place before getting even more stuff to my already overflowing kitchen but I decided yesterday that I'm going this weekend to finally get one. I have a huge bag of pistachios! Will have to try this. thanks :)

Holly Keegan said...

I just made pistachio pesto last night! I served it over a portabella mushroom burger with fresh mozarella. So good!

Pistachios sure are good all by themselves... or with beer/ wine. I'm sure they won't go to waste.

One other thought: check out a Tyler Florence recipe for Grape Truffles. It's grapes rolled in a mixture of cream cheese, blue cheese, port wine. Then rolled in pistachios. Uh-mazing!

Stella said...

Yum Amy. This is some vegetarian goodness if I've ever seen some! Wish I could have a bowl now. I'm getting hungry again...

Anonymous said...

Never tried pesto with pistachio but seems interesting, I'll give it a chance

Anonymous said...

I posted my pesto recipe recently and guess what, the key ingredient is pistachio. Since I started making pesto with pistachios a few years ago, I haven't gone back. I agree with you that it makes a much tastier pesto.

Cheers! :-)

Chef Dennis Littley said...

wow....thats a lot of pistachio's!! It looks like you did make the best of it though....I love the pesto idea!

Fresh Local and Best said...

That bowl of pistachios looks so good. I like the idea of using it for a pesto. What a fabulous recipe!