Sicily produces some of the best pistachios. They are widely used in dessert custards and creams, in savoury dishes as crusts and are fantastic in granita and gelato. This pesto, unlike the creamy pesto pastas that many people are used to, is a fresh light pasta sauce that can be made in minutes. once made, the pesto can be used as a dip or tossed with steamed vegetables for a nutty dressing.
For the pistachio pesto
50g blanched almonds
¼ cup parsley leaves, firmly packed
1 garlic clove
1 cup olive oil
To make the pesto, blend the nuts, garlic and parsley in a food processor, slowly adding the oil until the desired consistency is achieved. The pesto should not be too runny or too dry. Season with salt and set aside.
For the pasta
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
300g fresh green prawns, peeled, cleaned and chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
½ cup white wine
¼ cup pistachios, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Score the base of the tomatoes and plunge them into the water for 30 seconds or until the skin starts to peel away from the base. Remove the tomatoes and place them in cold water. Peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Dice the flesh and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions. once cooked, strain in a colander, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based fry pan and add the garlic, frying for a couple of minutes, then remove it. The garlic is used for flavouring only. Add the prawns and fry for 30 seconds on each side without moving them around too much. you may need to fry them in batches to avoid them stewing. This should be a very quick sauce so that the prawns don’t overcook. Add the diced tomatoes and white wine and simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in 4 heaped tablespoons of the pesto and add a little of the pasta water to create a sauce. Season with cracked pepper and add to the pasta to cover. Serve with extra pistachio sprinkled on top.