Pistachio Pesto

 

pistachio pesto

Pistachio Pesto

Pesto means “paste” and can be made of nearly anything, but I love nut based pestos.  For this one the star isn’t a soft herb, like basil or parsley.  Instead it’s pure pistachio nuts with a few garlic cloves, some salt and parmesan and enough olive oil to give me the texture I want.  Nut pestos can be assertive and the texture quite thick, so it’s important to “lighten” them before tossing with pasta with just a bit of the pasta cooking water.  I wait until the pasta is boiling and has given the water the gift of a bit of starch.  Then I start adding the cooking water one tablespoon at a time to the pesto until I reach a texture that will just nap the pasta without overwhelming it or any additional ingredients I’m adding.

I was inspired to make this pesto by a bag of the very rare Sicilian Bronte pistachios I bought from Brett Ottolenghi’s Artisanal Foods in Las Vegas.

Don’t skimp on the quality of oil you use.  I had a bottle of Cappezzana Oil from the famed Tuscan estate and put it to good use. This is exactly what these high end oils are good for.

Sicilian Bronte Pistachios

 

Evan’s Haroset

 

HarosetI prefer the texture I get when I grind the ingredients together more then when I use a food processor, so I use the grinder attachment to my stand mixer to make the haroset, using the largest hole screen.  However, if you only have a food processor by all means use it.  You may have to make the paste in batches. Add the orange pieces and wine or pomegranate juice as needed for moisture.

You’ll notice that I’ve written the recipe with a range of quantity.  Use an additional orange and additional wine or pomegranate juice if you want a moister mixture, less if you want a stiff paste.  Also, feel free to add spices to taste.  You might want more cinnamon or lots of ground coriander.  I love it spicy, but you may not.

Some similar recipes with these ingredients have you cook the mixture, presumably to cook out the wine.  I’ve never done that so if you’ve been to Angeli and had the passover haroset you’ve had a tiny bit of wine.  I prefer the fresher taste of an uncooked dry fruit mixture.  If you want to avoid the wine issue use pomegranate juice instead.

You can make this haroset several days, even a week ahead.  Don’t worry about making too much.  It’s a wonderful bar cookie filling after the holiday is over.