4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups pasta and 3/4 teaspoon pistachios)
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro
8 ounces uncooked fusilli pasta
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shelled, roasted pistachios, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Lemon wedges (optional)
How to Make It
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Rinse pasta with cold water; drain.
Combine basil, 3 tablespoons pistachios, oil, salt, and garlic in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping sides. Transfer basil mixture to a large bowl; stir cheese and reserved 1/4 cup pasta water into basil mixture. Add pasta and tomatoes to basil mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon pistachios. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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I've made this several times as written. We love it and it's become one of our "go to" meals. We almost always have the ingredients on-hand, especially in the summer when the basil plants are going crazy in the garden. Pistachios are also much easier to find, not to mention cheaper. I also tried it with cilantro and it was just as good. I appreciate that it's much less oily (and way fewer calories) than pestos from other recipes.
We love pesto. Using pistachios is a nice change up but the flavor wasn't very different than with pine nuts. Very garlicky. I'd probably use this amount of pesto with 12 oz of pasta. Family loves it. Will make again.
This is a really good "lighter" pesto pasta! I added chicken when I made it, one large chicken breast was plenty, and doubled the amount of garlic it calls for, which seems to give it a nice, rich flavor. I made 1.5 batches of the pesto sauce because of the added chicken and because I find that fusilli can lead to pasta that is too dry. I will definitely be making this again.
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