Why now is the time for pistachio basil pesto –
I know most of the country is still shivering from the onslaught of snow and ice, but this time of year is gorgeous for us in South Florida. And it’s prime time for the farmer’s markets! The sheer volume of local citrus is daunting! The tomatoes are heavy, perfumed and ripe! The fresh herbs are full and fragrant. Time for pistachio basil pesto.
At one stand, I buy several bunches of fresh herbs every week. Fragrant bunches of tarragon, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, dill, basil, cilantro and parsley so intoxicating that each Saturday I restock my supplies.
Fresh herbs make everything taste livelier, brighter and fresher, don’t you think? The bunch of fresh basil that I picked up today was no exception. It was basically a whole basil plant — the roots were still attached. I brought it home, gave it a good wash in the sink, trimmed away the roots and proceeded to make this easy pistachio basil pesto.
As far as condiments go, I put pesto right up at the top of the list, next to ketchup and mayonnaise (in fact, it’s great mixed with mayo). It’s as versatile as salsa.
Spread it on crostini or bruschetta, stir a spoonful into a pot of minestrone, smear it on a turkey sandwich, toss it with pasta, or use it instead of tomato sauce on a homemade pizza. Why not? If you find yourself with an abundance of basil — you must make this — and this version too!
A variation on the classic!
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup pistachios roasted, shelled
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated or shredded
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil - more if needed
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine the basil leaves, pistachios, parmesan cheese, 3 cloves garlic, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until you have a rough chop. Gradually add in olive oil, and continue to blend until a smooth paste is formed.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on crostini, mix into hot noodles or couscous.