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Pistachio Cherry Pesto

Posted Mar 13 2012 12:00am
I'm not sure that this can even be called a pesto.  I've gone beyond nuts and herbs, and didn't even add any cheese!  The horror!  What I can say, is that this is tasty.  And unique.  A little savory-sweet action going on, which should come as no surprise.  I'm going to spare you the photo I took of the pesto on its own, because, well...  it doesn't look appetizing ;)

Pistachio Cherry Pesto w/Pasta & Broccoli
adapted from these two recipes
Yield:  ~1c pesto
Serves 2 with extra pesto

I used the starchy pasta cooking water to help bring the pesto together.  If you want to make the pesto by itself, just use some vegetable stock or more oil.

6oz whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
1 head broccoli, cut into florets

For the pesto:
1/2c pistachios, lightly toasted
1/2c dried tart cherries
3 cloves of roasted garlic
1 meyer lemon
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2c packed basil
1/2c packed parsley
2T extra virgin olive oil
1/4c or more broth

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a hefty dash of salt, then add the pasta.  A minute or two before the pasta is al dente, add the broccoli.  Once the pasta is cooked, SAVE 1c of the cooking water (use a measuring cup) and then drain the pasta and broccoli.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto.  In the bowl of a food processor, add pistachios, cherries, roasted garlic, the zest and juice of a meyer lemon, red pepper flakes, basil, parsley and olive oil.  Process until it becomes a paste.  Add 1/4c of the pasta cooking liquid and continue to blend until smooth, adding more liquid as necessary to achieve a pesto-like consistency (thick but spreadable).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the drained pasta and broccoli back to the pot, along with 1/2c pesto and ~1/4c of the pasta cooking liquid.  Stir to combine, and adjust as needed-- you may want a little more pesto, or need more liquid based on your own preferences!

I would try adding the rest of the pesto to some roasted brussels sprouts, a la Chef Todd .  Or perhaps as a sandwich spread, with goat cheese (of course), chicken and arugula.  Mmmm.

What do you like to add to your pesto??
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