Easy meals are my specialty. That and a little something I like to call ‘making something out of nothing’. This is when you manage to create a half way decent meal out of a hotch potch, ramshackle assortment of random ingredients, making it look and taste as if it were meant to be. I’m pretty sure this skill alone was the clincher for my Husband.
Pistachios are a great substitute for pine nuts in homemade pesto – better than cashews and walnuts, in my opinion. In fact, I hate to even call them a substitute because really they stand alone in their pesto making greatness. Their already perfect texture and flavour is made even more fantastic by lightly toasting them in a dry frying pan. A small amount of effort for a big payoff – I recommend you don’t skip this step…..not to be pushy or anything;)
Of course, I might be biased, since I have had a pistachio soft spot for a very long time – you may have heard me discuss my mild obsession before, which all started when I first read Paula Danzinger’s The Pistachio Prescription as a young girl. I loved that book. In all those years, my love for these curious little nuts hasn’t waned and now I find any excuse to eat them or include them in my cooking.
They can be pricey though (usually double the price of walnuts!) but if I could I would use them in even more dishes – pistachio sushi anyone? Perhaps not. Although….! Right now, I’m loving them on my cereal and oatmeal but I also throw them into couscous, stir them through (soya) yoghurt and use them to make incredible, you got it……pesto.
Here’s what you need…..
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup packed flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
juice 1/2 lemon
several pinches of sea salt
Here’s how you make it….
Lightly toast the pistachios in a dry skillet over a medium heat for several minutes ensuring to turn them frequently. Let them cool a little before transferring them to a small handblender.
Blitz the pistachios to a fine rubble before adding the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, half of the olive oil and sea salt.
Blitz thoroughly until a thick paste has formed. Scrape down the sides, taste for seasoning, add the remainder of olive oil and more salt if desired and blitz again until you achieve a coarse pesto like sauce.
Stir through pasta, spread in sandwiches, on bruschetta, use as a dip or coating for cannellini beans.