Nothing beats the scent of fresh basil filling up the kitchen. When you make a pesto and begin to crush the delicate green leaves together with olive oil and salt the aroma naturally releases and fills the air. I wanted to change things up and make pesto with an interesting flavor combination. I decided to take a traditional basil pesto and mix it with pistachios. However, it doesn’t just stop there. I wanted to add in an other unique flavor that pairs well with and compliments pistachios; I decided on honey. This pistachio pesto pasta is an interesting combination of salty and sweet and is topped with cubed dices of apple for a little added crunch.
This dish is easy to refrigerate and keep for a few days. It’s also pretty easy to transport which makes it a perfect picnic dish.
1 lb penne pasta
2 cups loosely packed basil
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unshelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup grated pecorino (plus extra to be shaved and placed on top)
1/4 cup honey
1 pink lady apple
Place a large pot of water on medium to high heat, boil. Place pasta in the boiling water and cook according to directions on the box.
To make the pesto, add the basil, cilantro, olive oil, and salt to a food processor and grind until a liquid is formed. In a separate bowl place the pistachios and honey. Using a rubber spatula, combine until all of the pistachios are covered fully in the honey. Add this mixture to the food processor and put on high speed until the pistachios are relatively chopped.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and run under cold water. Transfer to serving bowl. Add in the pesto and mix until well incorporated.
Using an apple slicer, cut up the pink lady apple into slices. Then cut these slices into even smaller cubes. Add apple cubes to the pasta and combine again. Top with shaved pieces of pecorino cheese and serve.