It was such a rush of ideas (or maybe just my huge appetite at the time) – thinking of what a dish would taste like when replacing certain kinds of ingredients. There was a time that I was just staring at a bag of pistachios, thinking that its distinct earthy taste and green color would be an excellent partner to pasta and cheese.
Then the pistachio pesto pasta came into mind.
A way to perk up a pesto mixture is the use of processed cheese and pistachios. I found out that it is an excellent replacement to pine nuts. It is also a bit cheaper and blends well with sweet basil and garlic. While the basil mellows the saltiness of the cheese, the olive oil brings the sweetness on the newly crushed herb and nuts. Preparing the mixture is not exactly difficult. Just ready your trusty Osterizer or food processor to help you do the trick. Below are the ‘rough’ proportions of the ingredients:
– 1/3 block of regular size cheese (sliced or cubed)
– A handful or 10 grams of sweet basil leaves
– 5 cloves of garlic
– Pinch of salt
– 1/4 tsp of pepper
– 3-5 tbsp of olive oil (varies depending on preference).
– 250 grams of ready-to-cook pasta (usually lenguine and spaghetti)
The way to do it:
1. Cook pasta until al dente in boiling water (8-10 minutes). Keep in mind that the water will boil quickly and you can refrain the pasta from sticking together by sprinkling a pinch of salt and pouring at least a tablespoon of cooking oil into the water before placing the pasta. Stir the pasta every so often until cooked.
2. Preparing the mixture: Peel garlic and shoot it into the food processor together with the nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh basil leaves. After a few presses, put in slices/cubes of cheese.
3. Toss cooked pasta on a hot pan greased with olive oil and pour in the mixture (you may want to pour in just small amount at first then continue adding some more if you are ready for a stronger pesto taste). Remaining mixture may be used as bread spreads
If you prefer to use this besides your choice of pasta, this is a perfect spread over toasted or even cold bread (with soup or a cup of coffee to go with). It is strongly suggested to make your own pesto because it is healthier since it is much freshly made and better yet, much cheaper. This amount used on the pasta (approximately 300 grams, measured in uncooked terms), only costs less than Php 50.00 (about US $ 1.20). Such amount may already cost 2 to 3 times more if purchased as a mixture already.