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.

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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.

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