“There was a moment when the food industry realized that the greenery and flavor of pistachios were sexy and appealing to consumers,” says chef Francesco Bonsi as he discusses how the nut has been used in Mediterranean and Arabic dishes for centuries. popular in American cuisine in the last century. “Pistachios are quite tasty and taste like no other food. [They are] a very versatile nut that works well in savory or sweet dishes.”
As co-founder of Cucina Migrant in Golden Hill, Chef Francesco and his team lead pop-up farm and cooking dinners, private chef services, and culinary tours from the bohemian villa. His Mediterranean-inspired dishes are due to his Sicilian roots, especially from Mount Etna, where there is a large production of wild pistachios.
“In that part of Sicily, it’s very common to use pistachios in pastas, pizzas, gelato and many traditional pastries. So I grew up eating pistachios as a snack, but also in desserts (cannoli, cassata, etc.) and in delicious street food such as arancini.”
When we asked him to share one of his personal recipes for readers, it was no surprise that it involved this small but flavorful ingredient. He suggests that locals will love this recipe because it’s easy to make and the wealth of pistachio producers in California means you can buy high-quality pistachios at a reasonable price.
“This special pesto is best eaten straight away. But it can be stored in glass jars in the fridge for up to a week,” says chef Francesco. “You can play around with the amount of ingredients until you find your perfect pesto experience. You can add your favorite hot sauce or ground red pepper if you want to spice it up a bit.”
Follow the steps below to make Chef Francesco’s recipe and enjoy:
Pistachio pesto from chef Francesco Bonsi
1 cup shelled raw pistachios
Half a cup of extra virgin olive oil
Half a cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
Half a cup of basil leaves
1 small clove of garlic or less
A teaspoon of salt
A teaspoon of black pepper
3 ice cubes
Half a cup of mineral water
1). Place all ingredients, except the shallot, in a blender. Blend on medium speed until you get the texture you like. You can add more water and/or olive oil as desired to get the perfect consistency.
2). In a frying pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil or real butter and the finely chopped shallot. Cook over low heat until the shallot is translucent and soft. Add the pistachio pesto and stir for about a minute.
3). Add pesto to your favorite pasta style and enjoy!