Pistachio pesto – Recipe

Who among you doesn’t know or has never heard of pistachio pesto? I bet you’ve eaten it, at least once, mixed into pasta for a quick primo piatto, or maybe you’ve had it served to you at a restaurant as a garnish to meat or fish…or maybe you’ve simply picked up a jar at the supermarket (attentive to the percentage of pure pistachios in the list of ingredients, of course, as it must be at least 70%), or maybe you’ve even tasted as a tasty appetizer, spread atop crostini. We all know one thing – it’s delicious!pistacho pesto

pistacho pesto

But have you ever wondered why pistachio pesto is so good and what are the ingredients needed to prepare this beautiful green-hued delicacy with multiple wonderful properties and benefits at home?

Well, we at GoSicily, do it the old fashioned way! That is, we use only a few ingredients and Grandma’s traditional methods to obtain a high quality pistachio pesto.

What do you need to make homemade pistachio pesto? Well, definitely a lot of patience and excellent quality pistachios for certain (Sicilian pistachios, of course)! Got both of those? Then tie on those aprons!


  • 200 gr of pure pistachios (about 2 cups)
  • 100 ml of sunflower seed oil (a little less than ½ cup)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ALSO: a wooden mortar and pestle (if you don’t have a mortar and pestle at home, you can use a food processor – but I have to tell you right now that the final result will never be the same as a pesto made with the mortar and pestle procedure).

pistacho pestoProcess:

Place the pistachios in the mortar, perhaps dividing it into two or three batches, depending on the size and capacity of the mortar. Consider that you must crush the pistachios, reducing them into small bits, and if the mortar is very full, you will not have the room to do this (hence, the patience I mentioned)! pistacho pesto

So, using the pestle, begin to grind down the pistachios, stirring occasionally to make sure that the size of all the pistachio bits continues to gradually become smaller and smaller. Keep in mind, however, that to obtain a good pistachio pesto, there is no need to grind the pistachios into a powder but to “simply” stop when the mixture becomes somewhat creamy but still coarse – that is, not with uniformly sized bits. pistacho pesto

pistacho pestoLittle by little, as you work the pistachios with the pestle, you will begin to detect a very pleasant fragrance emanating from the mortar, this is due to the “cold crushing” of the pistachios (this cold temperature cannot be maintained, however, when using a food processor or other steel-bladed tools to grind down the pistachios, hence why I discourage their usage for this procedure). pistacho pesto

This sensuous aroma is nothing other than the pistachio oil being released, which, being rich in minerals and antioxidants has been known since ancient times to be precious for our health; in addition to cosmetic uses to hydrate the skin.  pistacho pesto
At this point, that is when you reach a granularity of pistachio that you like, now you drizzle in the sunflower seed oil, and add salt and pepper to taste.

You may not use all of the oil; you will have to add a bit at a time to note the texture/consistency you like – not too oily, not too dry. Continue to mix well and adjust seasonings as needed. pistacho pesto
Transfer the pesto into a glass jar if you will not be using it immediately, for example on a nice plate of handmade cavatelli, topped off with a creamy dollop of ricotta, as seen in the photo below. pistacho pesto

If you don’t have time to make this recipe, but you don’t want give up the taste of an authentic Sicilian pistacho pesto, could be order a jar from Gelsomino Imports LLC and  it will be shipped out to you right away anywhere in the USA. pistacho pesto

Annalisa Pompeo

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