We have done lots of things to pesto. We’ve made it with sage and winter spicing. We’ve made it with illicit herbs. We’ve made it with recycled vegetable fiber. But this is one for the Bookmark tab: Hickory-smoked pesto.
We were strolling the Santa Monica farmers market last week when we got assaulted by the sample lady at the pistachio stand. One nut later and we were lost in our thoughts. “Buy one bag. Shell them all. And blend with cheese and oil.” All we did was sub these insane hickory-smoked pistachios for the pine nuts in a white-bread recipe. The rest is history. Thank us later.
(Makes 1 cup)
1 bunch fresh basil (about 3 cups)
40-50 hickory-smoked pistachios (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz. shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
1/3 cup olive oil
pinch of sea salt
fresh black pepper
A squirt of fresh lemon or 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1. Wash and pluck your basil leaves. Toss into your food processor with shelled pistachios, cheese, salt, pepper and lemon.
2. Pulse for 30-45 seconds, adding olive oil in a slow drizzle.
3. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired. (At this point you can slather it on anything, including potatoes, salad, toast etc.)
4. Our preferred vehicle is a simple bowl of pasta. Toss cooked pasta of choice with the pesto, add roasted mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and thin slices of fresh green garlic.
Soundtrack: Animal Collective’s “For Reverend Green”
Beverage: Deschutes Summer Ale