Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pistachio-Herb Pesto

If you have a garden, you most likely have an overload of fresh herbs this time of year and making pesto is probably on your to-do list.  Here is a recipe I’ve been making for a few years now and it’s truly wonderful.  It uses a variety of fresh herbs, lemon zest and pistachios – one of my favorite nuts.  You can use any nut you like, I think walnuts would also work well with this recipe or you could use the traditional pesto nut: pine nuts. 

The list of health promoting properties that fresh herbs have is enormous.  For example, parsley which is a main ingredient in this pesto helps with circulation and is a natural diuretic.  Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant, stimulates the immune system and fights the signs of aging.  Oregano is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.  And the list goes on and on…

There are unlimited uses for pesto with pasta being the most popular; you can also add it to soups, serve over grilled chicken or shrimp, or use it as a topping for bruschetta.  My favorite way to use this pesto is on pizza.  Here is a photo of a pesto pizza I recently made, very simply with some Asiago cheese, a small amount of tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes.  We were in total pizza heaven – it was so good .  Pair it with a bold red and Bob’s your uncle.

Pistachio-Herb Pesto

1 small clove of garlic, peeled
2 cups packed Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon-thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh sage leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary – chopped
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup roasted & lightly salted pistachios
zest of one lemon
salt & pepper to taste
2/3 cup olive oil

In a blender or food processor, pulse the garlic until finely chopped.  Add all herbs, cheese, pistachios, lemon zest, salt & pepper to the garlic and blend until finely chopped.  With the blender/processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture becomes creamy and emulsified.  You may need to add more salt or pepper at this point.  Use immediately or when cool, can be refrigerated for a couple of days or freeze for later use.

"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Roman Poet Virgil

"Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine be thy Food." - Hippocrates

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