Pistachio Pesto Pasta
I bought some Sicilian pistachios that are to die for. We all almost finished the whole package, but I had about a half a cup remaining so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to make a Mediterranean-inspired pesto sauce. I love experimenting with new flavors. Pestos are so versatile. You can pick any nut, herb or dry fruit, oil and cheese; add salt and pepper and you're done. You can keep the extra pesto in an ice-cube tray in your freezer for up to 6 months or for 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
I always keep some pesto on hand for when I need to quickly throw a meal together. It brings so much flavor to pastas, sandwiches, all sort of dips, mashed potatoes, lasagna sauce, chicken. There are a plethora of possibilities.
Yields: 61/2 bunch sweet basil
1/2 bunch curley parsley
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup Sicilian pistachio kernel, unsalted, roasted
1/2 Tbs gray salt
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 dash vegetable broth, optional, if texture is too thick
1 tsp green peppercorns, freshly ground
18 oz fresh cheese-filled ravioli, 2 store-bought packages
2 Tbs olive oil
1 whole shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbs garlic, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated
Blanch (dip for 15 seconds in boiling water then transfer in an ice bath) the basil and parsley, drain, then dry thoroughly of all water, then pat dry on a paper towel. Roughly chop - you'll get approximatively 1 cup of greens.
Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, I grind the dry ingredients and then transfer and mix everything using a mini food processor. It should turn into a spreadable smooth creamy paste. Add oil or vegetable broth if necessary.
Boil ravioli as directed in package. In a skillet, add olive oil, the chopped shallot and garlic and also drop some butter to bring a nutty flavor. Stir until slightly golden. Saute the ravioli in the skillet containing the garlic and shallot until golden. Add 3 tablespoons of the pesto, pour the cream (or pasta water if you're health-conscious) into the pasta. Remove from the heat.
Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan. Serve immediately.
Blanching the herbs will help maintain that very appetizing green color, compared to the blackish green color of store-bought pesto.
I always like to grind all my dry ingredients in a mortar and pestle first to get a nice ground result, then transfer to a mini prep.
I always make extra that I store in my freezer. If you make an extra batch of pesto, you can store the rest in an ice-cube tray then freeze them. I transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into bags that I vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would do with my extra papaya seeds for cooking meat. You can store the pesto in your freezer for up to 6 months or for 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
I've used 3 mini-food preps so far and the mini Cuisinart is definitely my favorite one. Don't get tempted into buying the slightly bigger size. I made the mistake of buying one of these larger processors because it was about the same price but ended up returning it. The problem is that the ingredients won't grind as finely as the mini. I would advise you to get the mini-prep for your sauces and the 14-cup one for your bigger jobs. There is no need to get the models in between. It'll just clutter your kitchen.
Using a good quality salt will bring so much more flavor to your dish. There are so many kinds that you should try: Red Hawaiian salt, Himalayan sea salt, Fleur de sel from Madagascar, Fine Salt from Bayonne, Sel de Guerande, and of course the Fleur de Sel from the Island of Noirmoutier. For this recipe, I used the Fleur de Sel de l'Ile de Re, which I got on my trip to Paris last June. It's hand-picked, not treated and not washed. All the minerals are still there. It's very flavorful and surprisingly not as salty as the regular table salt. I like testing and making my own seasoning salt. I'll post the recipe for some of these concoctions later.Published By: on January 6, 2009.