‘Cracking Crunch’ pesto pistachio recipe


I learned this moreish pesto pistachio recipe while on vacation in Sicily, where it’s a common local pasta covering.

pistachio pesto recipe

With its nutty crunch and grainy texture this pesto is quite the opposite of green fresh n’ herby basil pesto, and because it's little-known outside of Sicily it's an excellent way to impress and delight any pasta-loving dinner guests.

pistachio pesto recipeAside from its addictive taste (you must have been to a dinner where you couldn’t stop picking at the nuts on the table, right?), pistachio is also one very healthy nut...

It is loaded with something called arginine, which is known as the ‘miracle molecule’ because it improves the functioning of so many bodily processes (read more on it here). It's also packed with monounsaturated fats (i.e. the good kind, which are burned off easily), and has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Since learning how to make pistachio pesto, I reckon more than half the pesto dishes we serve up at home now feature this version rather than traditional Ligurian pesto. It's that moreish, you really must give it a whirl!

Skinny note: It is possible to prepare this dish using unpeeled/skin-free pistachios (we’ve made and enjoyed both versions), however for me the brown and green ‘with-skins’ version is the tastiest.

Serves 4


250g/9oz pistachios (unshelled but with skins)

15 tablespoons (approx. 225ml/7.5 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

STEP 1 - Crush or whiz the pistachio nuts, using either a pestle & mortar or a food processor.

(Don't have either piece of kit? Put the nuts in a clean plastic bag, tie it tight and run a rolling pin over it.)

STEP 2 - Pop the crushed nuts in a large mixing bowl, then stir in the nutmeg and salt.

STEP 3 - Stir in the oil at the very last minute (i.e. when or just before your pasta of choice is done cooking). This last-minute approach keeps the pesto as crunchy as possible.

To serve: After you've cooked and drained your pasta, simply drop this in the mixing bowl and stir thoroughly to coat all the pasta in the pesto.

If you have a few pistachios left over, a small pile of these in the corner of a white pasta bowl or plate really gives the dish a neat restaurant look.

Enjoyed this pistachio recipe?

- Here’s another easy pesto recipe (and another!)

- Or maybe try this equally simple spaghetti with pistachio recipe?

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