Saturday, June 24, 2023

Pistachio Gelato/Ice Cream


When I'm in Italy, pistachio gelato is one of my top favorites. It looks nothing at all like the fake-green pistachio ice cream you get in the U.S, but it is a more muted green or even beige-y colored. The pistachio gelato in the photo (or ice cream if you want to call it that) was made with no artificial coloring or flavoring, but was made using  a jar of pistachio paste I brought back from a recent trip to Sicily. If Italy isn't in your immediate travel plans, you can buy pistachio paste online from many sources, although I can't vouch for any particular brand. Just make sure you buy pistachio paste or cream containing all natural ingredients.

I started with a recipe for pistachio ice cream from The New York Times, but changed the proportion of milk to cream (more cream, less milk) and amped up the flavor with some Amaretto liqueur and almond flavoring. It doesn't make it taste like almond ice cream, but somehow makes the pistachio more pistachio-y. The texture is similar to gelato you get in Italy, partly due the creaminess of the pistachio paste. Don't skip the liqueur either. Not only does it add flavor, but the alcohol keeps the ice cream scoopable. If you haven't got Amaretto (or pistachio liqueur if you can find it), even a little vodka or kirsch will do the trick.

After mixing all the ingredients, following your ice cream manufacturers instructions to churn. Then place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to firm enough for scooping. Sprinkle with a few pistachios on top to serve.

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Pistachio Gelato/Ice Cream

printable recipe here

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

⅔ cup sugar

⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt

6 large egg yolks

1 cup pistachio paste

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur


In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Remove pot from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk yolks.

Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.

Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Whisk in pistachio paste, almond extract and Amaretto liqueur.

Cool mixture to room temperature.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

Freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Pasta With Pistachio, Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Almonds, pistachios and tomatoes are ubiquitous in Sicily, so it’s no wonder that recipes abound using these ingredients. This pasta dish was the primo piatto we made and enjoyed in the cooking class we attended in Palermo in April, at the beautiful palace home of Duchess Nicoletta and Duke Gioacchino Lanza Tamasi, (sadly, he died May 10, 2023). I brought back some Sicilian pistachios (the town of Bronte is known for its prized pistachios) and I put them to good use making this pesto. I bought some really wonderful sun-dried tomatoes in Philadelphia’s Italian Market that were soaked in olive oil, making them exceptionally supple and flavorful. If the ones you find are dehydrated to the point of being tough and hard, soak them in some water for a while to soften and plump them. Drain and add a little olive oil. The fresh tomatoes on top are merely to add color. The big flavor is in the pesto. Nicoletta used a pasta called ruvidelli, but I served it using busiate, a classic pasta from Sicily. Feel free to use spaghetti if you like. This dish is perfect for company since you can make thepesto way ahead of time and just boil the pasta at the last minute. My guests loved it and ate everylast strand of the busiate. One pound was enough for six people as a primo piatto, but if you’re serving it as the main course, it’s enough for four people only.

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Pasta with Pistachio, Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

printable recipe here

  • 1 cup (50g) of sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup (50g) of unsalted almonds (with skin on)
  • ½ cup (50g) of unsalted shelled pistachios
  • A large bunch of basil
  • A dozen fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (500g) of Ruvidelli, busiate or other pasta
  1. Bring water to the boil in a large pot.
  2. Chop finely the sun-dried tomatoes together with the pistachios and the almonds, then add ⅔ of the basil leaves and chop them with the mixture.
  3. Put the pesto into a large bowl (the one you will eventually use to serve the pasta), add ½ cup of oil and a generous amount of pepper.
  4. Mix well and set aside for at least 1 hour.
  5. You might have to add more oil, as the pesto absorb it quickly.
  6. Cut the fresh cherry tomatoes and shred the remaining basil.
  7. Set aside while the pasta is cooking.
  8. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain it and turn it into the bowl.
  9. Toss well, add the fresh cherry tomatoes and the basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 5-6.