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Pasta with Pistachio Pesto

This nutty and creamy Sicilian pesto is a delicious alternative to basil pesto. Your family and guests are bound to love it!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Sicilian, Southern Italian
Servings: 3
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g pasta spaghetti, scialatielli or spaghetti alla chitarra
  • 200 g pistachios preferably unsalted & untoasted
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 40 g Parmesan or Pecorino grated
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • Put a pot of water onto boil for the pasta. Add salt once the water starts to boil and bring to the boil again.
  • Put the pistachios into a bowl of boiling water for 3 minutes , drain them and wipe them with a cloth to remove most of the skin covering them.
  • Put the pistachios in a blender or food processor, add the grated cheese and 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • As you start to blend/pulse add the rest of the extra virgin olive oil until you get a dense pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta and return it to the pan. 
  • Add some of the pasta cooking water to the pesto to make it a little more liquidy and creamier.
  • Then add the pistachio pesto to the pasta and mix together well.
  • Serve immediately with extra grated cheese as required.


If you cannot find Sicilian pistachios, any good, uncooked pistachios work well too. If uncooked pistachios aren’t available you can try toasted ones, but preferably unsalted.
This recipe is traditionally served with spaghetti but you can also use other thin long pasta such as spaghetti alla chitarra, linguine or scialatielli, as I did.