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Posts Tagged ‘pistachio’

As I wandered around the downtown public market last Saturday, I stumbled upon the most beautiful bunch of basil. “Ooo… I can make pesto!”, I told my friend Kathy who joined me for the market outing. Pestos are some of my favorite dishes to make.

They are super simple, and the result is just delicious. Also, each batch usually makes a fair amount, so you can use it for multiple dishes. It also freezes really well.

My all time favorite pesto is an arugula pesto. My friend Bruce brought me an amazing cookbook from a restaurant that I hope to visit one day. It’s my dream. The restaurant is called Hell’s Backbone Grill and is located in Utah. The restaurant grows all of their vegetables onsite and seeks all of their meats and dairy from local farmers. How amazing is that!! And to add to that, the restaurant is owned by two women. Even more amazing!! :) The cookbook is called With a Measure of Grace: The Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant. I never thought about making pesto with arugula, but it was just delicious! The pesto includes arugula, spinach, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and salt and pepper. That’s it. It is definitely a favorite.

Toasting the pumpkin seeds.

Another favorite is the pistachio pesto, which is used in the Matchstick Pasta recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I have written about the recipe not too long ago (Matchstick Pasta post). That particular pesto does not require any greens, but it is just as delicious.

Throughout the years, I have experimented with different nuts and greens. The different nuts are what make the pesto more interesting, perhaps more so than the greens. You can use any nut, really. I have tried walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and pecans. The possibilities are endless! Also, due to my lactose intolerance, I no longer include cheese in my pestos. I really do not miss it at all. I think that they are just as good without it.

Back to the beautiful bunch of basil… For this particular pesto, I decided to use basil, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and of course olive oil and salt and pepper. I believe that a key enhancement to any pesto is to toast the nuts that you are using. It really brings out the flavors. I also do not like my pesto very oily, so I usually do not use the typical amount of oil. I use just enough to hold it all together. The pesto made a great sauce for a pasta that was topped with grilled chicken and goat cheese. We savored every bite!

I was lucky to find more basil and a bunch of arugula at the market this week. I foresee more pesto in the near future!

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I have not been cooking anything too elaborate lately. I have been sticking to my trusted simple dishes. One of my favorite dishes in the world (yes… I said in the world!) is the Matchstick Pasta. I found the dish a long time ago on the 101 Cookbooks site, and have been making it fairly regularly. It is super simple and amazingly delicious. I am not kidding! I have made it for a fair amount of people and all of them have fallen in love with it.

Matchstick Pasta

The recipe includes a pistachio pesto, kale, pomegranate seeds, and pasta. That’s it!

Pistachios for pesto

The pistachio pesto is very simple to make. Simply add a cup or so of pistachios, some olive oil, and a garlic clove in a food processor, whirl it around until it resembles pesto, and voilà… you have pistachio pesto!

Pistachio pesto

I know what you are saying… kale, really?!?! I promise that if you eat this dish, you will fall in love with it. I have never been a big fan of kale either. I have only seen it used as a plate-decorating piece. But then I cooked it in this dish, and ever since then, I cannot get enough of it. I use it fairly regularly now. It is supposed to be super good for you too, so that is always a plus. :)

I feel very lucky to be able to purchase pomegranate seeds. I am not a big fan of separating the seeds from a whole pomegranate. It is very messy, and the utensils as well as your hands turn red.

Whole-wheat fettucine

My favorite pasta for this dish is the fresh whole-wheat fettuccine. The pasta gives the dish a nutty flavor, which I love. Regular pasta, however, works just as well.

As I mentioned before, I truly love this dish. If I were stuck on a deserted island and this was the only dish available, I would be in heaven. :)

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