Pistachio Pesto with Panache

Right. It's about time I started cooking again. My family thinks so, at least. Psh. What are they, hungry?

Today I share with you a recipe so fine, so utterly beguiling that you will wonder why everyone doesn't eat it every night for dinner. And lunch. And midnight snack. "Pistachio Pesto," the Pesto With Panache! Yes, folks, its the slimy green sauce of Italian sauciness that enrobes only the pasta eaten by those of the most discerning palates. And those who like it, too.

Regular pesto is Genovese, and consists of fresh basil, garlic, parsley, cheese and pine nuts. It is a wonderful addition to any dish, really. Tastes great stirred into soups, onto pasta, new potatoes, grilled veggies, and spread on grilled fish.

Pistachio pesto can be used pretty much the same way. But with its incredibly wonderful, warm, delicate flavor, you will want to eat it right out of the blender. Trust me on this.

Andiamo, Amici!


Pistachio Pesto


1 cup olive oil

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed (It's easier if you grow your own, but if you don't, buy a lot. It takes more than one little box to pack into a cup)

1/2 tsp. pressed garlic 

1/2 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (Not cilantro. Easy mistake to make. I've made it. And that mistake makes interesting pesto. Cilantro leaves are broader and almost fringed on the edges.)

1 cup shelled pistachios (Yep. Sit there and shell them. It's fun! Turn on a video of you can't take the silence that long.)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (Fresh is best. Pre-shredded is faster. You pick.)



-Place oil and basil in blender; finely chop (That's just silly. Purée the stuff, okay?)

-Add garlic and parsley. Process until puréed

-Add pistachios. Process until fine (This makes a racket. Go find ear plugs)

-Season with salt and pepper to taste

-Place pesto in a bowl. Stir in 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (This is the fun part: many textures coming together. The pesto coming into its own. It's like popping bubble-wrap.)


And now! The Multimedia Presentation:

Yes folks. It simply isn't enough, with pistachio pesto, to show plain old pictures. You need MOVIES! Narrated! By Me! So Here The Are! (with a few pictures to start.)

Ingredients of gorgeousness


Readying the basil and oil.


Blurr-ifying the parsley and garlic. I gotta invest in a tripod. And a good camera. And photography lessons. And A.D.D. Medication.


Shelled pistachios. If I can do it, you can do it.


Über-cool pasta. For later.


And now, the action! Live and action-ish!

Amazing. Love me my Vita Mix (and no, Vita Mix did NOT give me a free blender to say that. I just, you know, felt it. In the moment. Free expression.)


I think my narration is El Stupido. I'm going to have to script it or something.


I'm glad I included this clip. It's sort of climactic, you know? Leaves one breathless . . . 


It was, in fact, not chunky. Which should have been obvious to me given that I blended it for 45 minutes on high. Still tastes good, though.


Please. For the love of all that is sour-moldy-milk-aged-into-cheese. Shred your parmesan yourself. You shall weep Italian tears of joy as you eat it if you do.


And then finally, we have Pistachio Pesto with Pasta and Grilled Chicken. Easy. Especially for we who are busy moms. Busy moms who are too busy to answer our children as they cry plaintively for us during the cooking blog video shoot.

It's okay. He wasn't bleeding.

Go now. Plant basil, grow it, and try this. It is magnificent.

No exaggeration.

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5 Responses to Pistachio Pesto with Panache

  1. I love the sky view of the blender. You are officially a genius blogger.

  2. And I love the echo in your voice when you’re talking into the blender. Special effects!!!

  3. Janiel says:

    Hahaha! I didn’t notice the echo. Um. Wait. Yes I did. I did it on purpose.

    Thanks Alison. 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely delicious! 🙂 I loved it when we had it…that one time…oh so far away in my memory…perhaps in need of a jog? 😉

  5. Janiel says:

    Well, Mr. Anonymous, I am betting you are remembering that one time when you introduced me to this recipe–because I’m betting you’re Mr. Frost, A.K.A. Dottie Dixon, A.K.A. Pistachio Pesto Inventor Extraordinaire! Am I right? If not, then, um, never mind.

    But if I am, THANK YOU for this absolutely fantastic and totally addictive recipe. And it was a lovely dinner, as I remember. Clearly had an impact on me, yes? 🙂

    Whether I am right or wrong, I should have given credit where credit is due. This recipe comes courtesy of Mr. Lynn Frost. With my thanks.

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