Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spinach Pistachio Pesto

This pesto was another brain child of my week prior to vacation, when I had to get rid of some fridge staples and didn't want to grocery shop. I happened to purchase a pretty big ol' bag of pistachios not that long ago, and for some reason I was in the mood to make a pesto. Since I had some fresh cilantro and fresh spinach to use up, I decided to see what would happen if I combined all of these ingredients in my food processor!

I have to say, this was a pretty great idea! I generally make my pesto on the coarser side, because I like it to be less oily and caloric. I will drizzle a bit of olive oil into the pesto, and then I will use my hot, reserved pasta liquid in the pasta to compensate for the lack of moisture in the pesto. Normally, about 1/2 cup of the water will do the trick, but you can always add more if necessary. One final thing: I was all out of Parmesan cheese that day, which was a shame because it would have been so good in there. You can definitely add it into the pesto if you'd like, but I really liked the simplicity of this pesto without it. Either way, I don't really think you can lose with this one!

Spinach Pistachio Pesto
recipe by Bri
makes enough to cover 1 lb. pasta

4 cups spinach, loosely packed
1/2 cup cilantro (can use stems and leaves), loosely packed
1/2 cup raw, shelled pistachios, toasted
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp. salt
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Parmesan cheese, optional

1. Combine the pistachios and garlic cloves in the work bowl of a food processor; pulse to chop them finely. Add the spinach and cilantro; run the food processor long enough to make a coarse paste.

2. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and about 1/2 cup to 1 cup warm water (reserved pasta water works very well for this). The pesto will still be similar to paste, but will be looser and almost creamy looking. Add salt to taste.

3. Toss with your choice of pasta shape; add Parmesan cheese before serving if desired.

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