Monday, December 28, 2009

Pistachio Arugula Pesto

I have a large container of shelled pistachios in my freezer, because I needed some for something else, and decided to buy in bulk. But what to do with them all? I've been wanting to make a new pesto for awhile, and I figured "surely someone's used pistachios in pesto instead of pine nuts!" So I googled, and sure enough, there were several candidates. The ones that caught my eye were the ones with arugula as the herb/green. And since I am an elitist liberal, I love arugula, and thought that the peppery lettuce would go nicely with pistachios! I kind of winged it instead of going by a single recipe... For one I wanted to try making a pesto without cheese, as I always thought the nuts and olive oil give pestos plenty of richness on their own. So I put this together tonight... it was easy and fast and really tasty. I sauced some store-bought gnocchi with it and ate it on a bed of more arugula.

Pistachio Arugula Pesto

-A couple handfuls of shelled pistachios (approx. 1 cup)
-4 cloves garlic
-5 or six handfuls of baby arugula (approx. 6 cups unpacked)
-1 large lemon, for zest and juice
-Olive oil, about 1/2 cup
-Salt & pepper to taste

Toast the pistachios on a cookie sheet in a preheated 400ºF oven for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Let cool about 5 minutes. Combine nuts and garlic and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon zest in a food processor , about 6 pulses. Add the arugala a couple handfuls at a time, until a paste forms. Squeeze in about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, run the processor, and drizzle in olive oil slowly until the pesto is about the thickness of a pudding. Taste and add salt pepper to taste. Add to cooked pasta, using some of the pasta cooking water to thin it out as you sauce the pasta. Or spread on crusty bread as it is!

Other Iron Stef posts involving pesto and/or gnocchi:
Pepita Pesto
Gnocchi with sausage & arugula
Giant smooshed sandwich
Purple basil pesto
Stuffed gnocchi
Sweet potato gnocchi with ham & walnuts
Gnocchi with gorgonzola and walnuts
Bright pink beet gnocchi
Gnocchi with salsiccia and vegetables

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