I came back from Cairo, where I visited the Museum, Tahir Square and the local supermarket in the Zamalek neighborhood, for me always the best experience to understand a new place. I am a pistachio addict, I love pistachio in all its possible epiphanies, I can go on hours discussing the "ultimate pistachio taste" in an ice cream....Egypt is the paradise of pistachio, I thought it was Sicily, but I was wrong: It is definitely Egypt, and this adds even more seduction to this wonderful civilization.
So, I bought two big packs of pistachio nuts and brought them to Paris with a vague idea of possible culinary uses. I knew about some recipes of pesto with pistachio, and wanted to try one of these, but could not find anything really inspiring on the web. So I have created a new one. And it was great, just great, so much better than the traditional pesto, a super-Italian dish with a touch of new, Mediterranean flavor...
Here it is:
Two cups of pistachio
One cup of basil leaves
Two cups of peppermint leaves
150 g of pecorino cheese
6 large spoons of good olive oil
Put the basil leaves, half of the mint leaves, the pecorino cheese chopped in small pieces, 4 spoons of olive oil and one cup of pistachio in the blender and blend it. When it looks like a green creamy sauce, stop, and put it into a large bowl. Take the other cup of pistachio and crush them gently in a mortar with the rest of the mint leaves. Then mix them with the green sauce you have already made.
Boil a large amount of water (this is the secret of a good pasta!) in a pot, salt it and add linguine or spaghetti. Take two or three large spoons of the boiling water and add it to the sauce to make it softer. When the pasta is ready, drain it, and put it in a large recipient where you have already put the sauce. Add some chopped mint leaves and some pistachios for decoration. If you are a Milanese as I am, you can add some freshly grated lemon zest on the top...
P.S. Note also that pistachio is 10 times cheaper than pine nuts, at least in France...