home cooked dinners by the season

Fresh Basil and Pistachio Pasta – revisited

Fresh Basil and Pistachio Pasta – revisited

 

Without a doubt, now is the best time to be cooking with fresh basil. Whether from your own garden or a farmer’s market, it is infinitely more flavorful than the packages available year round in the grocery store. This is one of my favorite summer season recipes, reposted from 2011 with just a few slight recipe improvements. I will bet you a margarita that you have most of the ingredients already in your refrigerator or pantry. Make it two margaritas that it will be on your table in 30 minutes.

This pasta can be a meal in itself or a side dish to grilled seafood or meat. It’s so flavorful with little bits of chopped pistachios, fresh basil, parsley and parmesan clinging to each piece of spaghetti in every bite. Recipe modifications from the original are using less pasta so there are more of the loose ingredients in each bite, less olive oil and instead adding a bit of the hot pasta cooking water back to the drained pasta. You will love that the finished pasta can sit at room temperature until you are ready to eat. As a leftover it is equally good the next day. I am known to take a fork to it right out of the container in the refrigerator.

I buy raw pistachios either in the bulk section or in packages (Trader Joe’s carries them). Unsalted is preferred to control the amount of salt when using them in a recipe, but salted can be used – just be mindful of the extra salt you add at the end.

I am often asked what is the best way to store nuts. Nuts contain a high amount of oil and when exposed to heat, light and oxygen they start to decompose and turn rancid. If you are using them within a few months of purchasing, store them in a sealed container in a dark, cool place in your pantry. If storing them longer the freezer is best. I put them in a sealed container with the date I purchased them written on the outside.

Fresh Basil and Pistachio Pasta - revisited
 
Serves: 3-4 as an entree or 4-5 as a side dish
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • ¼ cup hot water from cooking pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup raw pistachios, chopped
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Extra grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium or large skillet over medium heat cook onions and garlic just until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes; remove from heat.
  2. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions for the amount of time. Just prior to draining, remove ¼ cup hot cooking water and set aside. Drain noodles and add to onion and garlic; evenly distributing ingredients with tongs. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add reserved hot pasta water, pistachios, Parmesan, basil, parsley and lemon juice to pasta and toss to evenly mix.
  4. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to a platter and serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side.


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