Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pistachio Cherry Pesto

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??

20 comments:

Erica said...

You always come up with the most creative mix ups! I usually stick with the norm for pesto, but I have made pea-sto too.

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living said...

What a creative recipe! I love sweet-savory pairings, and this pesto sounds fantastic.

Daisy said...

how did you even think to add pistachios and cherrys?! how did you like this in comparison to regular old pesto? :)

In and Around Town said...

What a great idea to dress up pesto! Such a creative combination - I love you other suggestions as well - goat cheese? YUM!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I am so curious about the addition of dried cherries. This pesto excites and intrigues me!

Elizabeth said...

First off, I could eat pistachios forever. Second, pistachio and dried cherry is such an awesome combo, in both sweet and savory.

Colleen @ Culinary Colleen said...

I love the idea of this pesto with goat cheese...yum! I bet that would make a great appetizer.

Ranjani said...

This has to be the most creative pesto I've ever seen. I love the idea of spreading this on a sandwich

Cara said...

sounds like a perfect pesto to me!

Katerina said...

I love sweet and savory flavors in my meals. Indeed this is a unique sauce with a beautiful combination of ingredients!

vanillasugarblog said...

man that sounds so good!
you know I love sweet & savory combo's--why not pesto? oh yes please.

Megan said...

That definitely sounds like an interesting combination of ingredients to turn into a pesto. Bet it had great flavor!

Esi said...

I had to re-read that title. This sounds so interesting.

Sacha said...

I think you are definitely the pesto queen! I like the sound of this. And its definitely next to impossible to make a bowl of a dark green condiment look pretty :)

Joanne said...

What IS a pesto, really? Sounds pretty existential to me. But really...this version just sounds delicious!

Jenn (eating bender) said...

I've never made pesto before, so this looks like pesto to me! :o) In all seriousness, the ingredients look incredible. Definitely saving this one for my future first pesto experience.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

This idea is perfect for so many reasons. I don't like nuts but am warming up to pistachios so this is a great gateway pesto ;) The addition of cherries is also awesome!

Mary Ellen @ Pâte à Chew said...

I love cherries, I think they should be added to everything. Great idea!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Pesto with CHERRIES? I need this in my life!! :)

Kerstin said...

What a cool twist on pesto - sounds so unique and delightful!

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