Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Note: It took me about 40 minutes to shuck (shell?) a full cup of pistachios.  I managed to only eat 2-3.  Considering how delicious this was, that was time well spent.  I will probably shell some more and set them aside in bags marked "1cup - not for snacking!" so I can make this again even more quickly.  Beautiful and delicious as well as inexpensive and healthy!  Trifecta+1!  I didn't make any modifications to the original recipe (other than forgetting the salt, oops!), but I am posting this with a few modifications that I think would make it even more marvelous.

1 C Pistachios (shelled)
1/2 a bunch of Basil or Parsley (flat leafed is better)
~4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1 clove of garlic
~ 1/4-1/2 C Pasta Water

8oz of your favorite pasta (something with ridges will help the sauce to stick 
4 C vegetables (anything you love! suggestions: cauliflower, broccoli, pea pods, peppers, green beans)
Fresh tomatoes (for garnish, optional)
Grated Parmesan (garnish, optional)

1) Put Pistachios in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil and basil/parsley and salt.  Continue to process until finely chopped and all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside in a bowl large enough to mix cooked pasta and vegetables.
2) Cook pasta to directions on package (you could have started this while working on the pesto, honestly).  When 2 minutes are left on the timer, add the hearty vegetables.  With 1 minute left, add any tender vegetables (peppers and pea pods, for example).*
3) Reserve about a cup of water and then drain pasta.
4) Add hot pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time, to the pesto while stirring/whisking.  I just added enough to make it a sauce instead of a paste & then a little more so it would cover all my pasta.
5) Stir pasta and vegetables into the sauce.  Server topped with fresh chopped tomatoes and cheese(both optional, but a nice touch.)

*you can also cook your veggies separate and then mix together at the end, but this was suggested in the original recipe & I thought it was a cool idea to save time/dishes.  The only issue I encountered was that some of my veggies were frozen and that brought the water temp down for longer than I would have liked.  Still turned out great, though.

source: http://chefprivato.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-on-food-stamp-budget-part-2-day_13.html


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