) Delicious Pistachio Pesto Recipe for Pasta Lovers

Picture this: a warm evening, a cozy patio, and a heaping plate of orecchiette with pistachio pesto. This dish is more than just a flavorful pasta entree; it’s a symphony of fresh ingredients combined to create the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory flavors.

As an Israeli chef, I believe that Mediterranean cuisine is all about using simple ingredients to create unforgettable meals. That’s why I love this recipe for orecchiette with pistachio pesto. It’s easy enough for any home cook to make, but has enough depth of flavor to impress even the most discerning foodie.

This recipe uses roasted shelled pistachios in combination with fresh herbs like basil and mint, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and grated parmesan cheese to create a delectable pistachio pesto that pairs perfectly with the unique shape and texture of orecchiette pasta.

Trust me when I say that once you try this dish, you’ll never go back to plain old spaghetti and meatballs again. So let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Orecchiette With Pistachio Pesto
Orecchiette With Pistachio Pesto

Are you someone who loves to experiment with different ingredients while cooking delicious meals? If yes, then you have got to try this Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto Recipe! Trust me; it’s the perfect dish for people with adventurous taste buds.

But wait, let me give you some solid reasons why you’ll instantly fall in love with this recipe. Firstly, pistachios are the star ingredient here. Their distinct, nutty flavor combined with fresh basil leaves and crushed red pepper flakes creates an explosion of flavors in your mouth that you won’t forget quickly.

Secondly, this recipe doesn’t require any fancy or hard-to-find ingredients. All you need is some pasta, pesto, and a few seasonings like garlic and extra virgin olive oil, which I’m sure is already present in your kitchen.

Thirdly, the texture of the orecchiette (little ears) pasta wonderfully captures the sauce, making every bite satisfyingly tasty. Plus, its unique shape helps retain the perfect al-dente texture when cooked correctly.

Lastly, it’s incredibly versatile–you can easily substitute or add other ingredients like green beans or cherry tomatoes to make it even more nutritious or tweak it according to your preferences. You could also prepare it ahead of time and store it in your fridge for a quick meal option on hectic days.

Plus, this dish is perfect for gatherings and parties since it’s simple to make in large quantities if needed! Imagine serving a large bowl of orecchiette pasta paired with broccoli rabe or zucchini pasta salad that would impress all your guests.

In conclusion, if you’re searching for a new pasta recipe that’s both easy to make and offers a one-of-a-kind taste experience you will never forget, then look no further than this Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto Recipe. It’ll take your taste buds on an incredible journey they will thank you for!

Ingredient List

 Say hello to my nutty and green pasta creation! 🍝🌿
Say hello to my nutty and green pasta creation! 🍝🌿

Here are all the ingredients you need to make this delicious Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto recipe:

  • 7 ounces of orecchiette pasta
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios (unsalted)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Note: You can roast the pistachios for a more intense flavor. Simply roast 1 cup of unsalted roasted shelled pistachios in the oven at 375Β°F for about 8 minutes or until they are fragrant and lightly toasted. Allow them to cool before using them in this recipe.

Important: Make sure all your ingredients, especially the fresh herbs, are properly cleaned and dried before starting to work with them.

The Recipe How-To

 Trust me, this pistachio pesto will be your new best friend in the kitchen. πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ
Trust me, this pistachio pesto will be your new best friend in the kitchen. πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

Here’s a step-by-step guide for making Orecchiette Pasta with Pistachio Pesto:


  • 500g Orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orecchiette and cook according to your liking or until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

  2. In the meantime, make the pistachio pesto by blending the pistachios, fresh basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese in a food processor until finely chopped. Gradually pour in the olive oil and pulse until smooth. Stir in the chopped mint and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  3. Drain pasta well, but don’t rinse it, and leave it in the pot off the heat.

  4. Pour the pistachio pesto over the pasta, then toss until evenly coated. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water spoonfuls at a time until desired consistency is reached.

  5. Garnish with extra shaved parmesan cheese, chopped mint and scatter with scallions and crushed red pepper flakes before serving.

Enjoy your delicious homemade orecchiette pasta with pistachio pesto!

Substitutions and Variations

 Who's up for a quick and flavorful dinner tonight? 🀀
Who’s up for a quick and flavorful dinner tonight? 🀀

One of the best things about this Pistachio Pesto Pasta is its versatility. You can easily customize it based on your preferences and the ingredients you have available in your kitchen.

If you are not a big fan of orecchiette pasta, you can easily swap it with other types of pasta such as fusilli, spaghetti, or ziti. If you want to add some veggies to your pesto pasta, you can try tossing in some steamed green beans or broccoli rabe. You may also add cherry tomatoes to give a burst of tanginess to your dish.

For those who are allergic or not fond of pistachios, you may replace it with other nuts like almonds, walnuts or even pine nuts. However, bear in mind that this variation of Pistachio Pesto Pasta will have a slightly different flavour profile.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch things up even more, try making a pistachio cream sauce for your pasta. To make this, simply blend unsalted roasted shelled pistachios with heavy cream using a food processor until it becomes smooth and creamy. Then mix the prepared pesto with burrata cheese and toss it into the cooked pasta.

As an alternative, you can create a Sicilian Pistachio Pasta by adding some spinach pesto along with basil pesto. The spinach and basil pesto combo will give a distinctly herbaceous taste to your dish. And if you want something lighter yet enjoyable on hot days, use zucchini as a substitute for pasta.

However way you make this recipe your own; I hope these variations inspire you to try out different combinations and find the perfect balance that suits your taste.

Serving and Pairing

 If you're a pasta lover, you don't want to miss out on this dish! 🍴❀️
If you’re a pasta lover, you don’t want to miss out on this dish! 🍴❀️

When it comes to serving and pairing the orecchiette with pistachio pesto recipe, there is no wrong answer. One can savor this dish on its own, as a filling and satisfying meal, or have it as an elegant side dish that complements any dish with class.

That being said, I personally prefer to serve this lovely pasta dish alongside some freshly roasted mixed vegetables. Green beans, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and broccoli rabe are some of my go-to options for the perfect blend of flavors and textures. Drizzle them with olive oil and roasted garlic cloves for an added aromatic touch.

For meat lovers, I recommend serving the orecchiette pistachio pesto with grilled chicken or roasted pork tenderloin. The juicy and savory flavors of the meat are beautifully complemented by the nutty goodness of the pistachio pesto.

And let’s not forget about cheese! The creaminess of Burrata cheese adds a rich texture to the pasta and helps balance out the sharpness of the pistachio pesto. Simply spoon some fresh burrata over the top of your dish before serving.

If you’re looking for a lighter option or just want to mix things up, try substituting orecchiette pasta with fusilli pasta pistachio for a slight variation in texture. Use spinach pesto instead of basil pistachio for an even healthier twist on this classic Italian recipe.

Overall, this versatile pasta recipe is perfect for any occasion – from casual weeknights dinners to formal dinner parties. You can’t go wrong with a delicious bowl of orecchiette pistachio pesto pasta on your table any day of the week.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 All you need are a few simple ingredients to make this pistachio pesto shine. 🌟
All you need are a few simple ingredients to make this pistachio pesto shine. 🌟

When it comes to make-ahead options, this Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto is a great contender. You can make the pesto sauce up to 3 days ahead of time and keep it refrigerated in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it. This makes it perfect for when you’re entertaining guests or need to save time on busy weeknights.

If you have any leftover pasta, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to reheat the pasta, gently warm it in a pot over low heat. Add a touch of extra virgin olive oil or a bit of reserved pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce if it has thickened in the fridge.

While the recipe is best served fresh, I understand that life can get hectic and leftovers are inevitable. When reheating, please note that the texture and consistency may change due to being refrigerated and reheated. It might be a bit drier than when it was freshly made, but don’t fret – simply add a little more olive oil or some vegetable broth to rehydrate the dish.

Enjoy your delicious Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto even after a few days by following these simple storing and reheating guidelines!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The creamy and nutty sauce perfectly coats the orecchiette pasta.
The creamy and nutty sauce perfectly coats the orecchiette pasta.

When it comes to creating a perfect Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto, it’s all about the little details. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you take your dish from average to exceptional.

First and foremost, use high-quality ingredients! Look for fresh herbs and shelled pistachios when making this recipe. The flavor of each component will contribute to the overall taste of the dish. Furthermore, using extra virgin olive oil will result in a richer, more flavorful pesto.

When cooking your pasta, make sure you are using a large pot filled with salted water so that the pasta has enough room to cook properly. Follow the cooking instructions on the package closely and don’t forget to stir occasionally.

To prevent your pasta from becoming dry and sticky, do not rinse it under cold water after draining. Instead, toss it in a bit of olive oil to keep it moist and prevent clumping.

Making your pesto in a food processor or blender will make all the difference. It ensures an even blend of ingredients and creates a creamier texture, which means a better overall flavor.

Additionally, if you want more heat in your dish, add crushed red pepper flakes or more garlic cloves to intensify the flavors.

Lastly, feel free to experiment with different variations of this recipe by incorporating veggies like green beans, zucchini or broccoli rabe or proteins like chicken or shrimp. Let your creativity guide you!

By utilizing these simple tips, you can elevate this recipe to new heights and serve an unforgettable meal that everyone will love.


Now that you have learned how to make this scrumptious Orecchiette With Pistachio Pesto Recipe and have some tips to elevate it, let’s address some common questions that might be lingering in your mind. In this section, we will answer frequently asked questions about the recipe, providing you with more insight on its preparation and ingredients. Read on to clarify any doubts and perfect your dish!

Do I heat pesto before putting on pasta?

When it comes to Pesto Sauce, it’s important to remember that heating it up can alter the texture, taste and color of the fresh basil. This means that cooking Pesto Sauce is a big NO. Instead, it should be warmed at a low temperature and used at room temperature. If it’s too thick for your liking, you can easily thin it out with a splash of water, chicken stock, cream or white wine.

How to make pistacchio pesto?

If you’re looking to add some zing to your dishes, try whipping up a batch of homemade pesto! To make it, simply toss some basil leaves, grated Parmesan, pistachios, garlic, salt, and pepper in your food processor or blender. Pulse the mixture until everything is finely chopped and well-combined.

While the machine is still running, slowly pour in some olive oil until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. Once everything is fully incorporated, your delicious pesto is ready to serve!

For the best results, enjoy your pesto right away. Its vibrant freshness and bold flavor is the perfect complement to pasta dishes, salads, or even as a dip for fresh bread. So treat yourself and give this recipe a try!

Can you sub pistachios for pine nuts in pesto?

If you don’t have pine nuts on hand or are looking for a creative twist in your pesto recipe, don’t fret! You can substitute pine nuts with a variety of other nuts and seeds, like walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or even sunflower seeds. You can also opt for an unconventional approach and make your pesto using less popular ingredients, like carrot greens, that are often thrown away as waste. The possibilities for experimentation are endless when it comes to making pesto.

What tastes good with pesto pasta?

Today, I will be sharing some mouth-watering recipe ideas with you. These include a flavorful Bruschetta, an Antipasto salad, Roasted red peppers, Tinned tuna, delectable Goats cheese, a tangy Tomato and mozzarella salad, a healthy Roasted aubergine salad with chickpeas, and Herby grilled chicken. I can’t wait to take you on this culinary journey!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto Recipe is not just any type of pasta recipe. It’s a burst of flavors in your mouth that will leave an unforgettable taste. It’s like having a little bit of Sicily in your kitchen. After giving this recipe a try, you won’t want to go back to eating plain old pasta dishes.

With its unique blend of ingredients- fresh mint, basil leaves, and roasted shelled pistachios- mixed together in a food processor or blender, this recipe is a pesto lover’s dream come true. The Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto Recipe is versatile, easy to customize and adjust to fit preferences.

It is perfect as a main dish or as a side dish; it goes well with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli rabe or green beans. And do not hesitate to add some burrata cheese on top for an extra touch of richness.

Whether for lunch, dinner, or even parties with family and friends, the Orecchiette with Pistachio Pesto Recipe will be sure to impress anyone who tries it. Therefore, my advice is to grab the ingredients on this list and give this outstanding pasta recipe a go. You won’t regret it!

Orecchiette With Pistachio Pesto

Orecchiette With Pistachio Pesto Recipe

Flavorful pesto is made with Sicily's pistachio nuts. Frank Castronovo & Frank Falcinelli (the Chef) says, "Sicilian pistachios are incredibly sweet & fruity, not like the cheap ones we eat in front of the TV here in the USA." This recipe appeared in F&W Magazine, the September, 2007, edition. Serve with a white wine blend to create a citrusy flavor.
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Prep Time 18 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Calories 628.5 kcal


  • 1 lb orecchiette
  • 7 ounces unsalted roasted shelled pistachios (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths and julienned
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely chopped.
  • Add the oil, mint and garlic and pulse just to combine.
  • Transfer to a pasta bowl, stir in the cheese and scallions; season with salt & pepper & crushed red pepper, if using.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  • Return the pasta to the pot.
  • Add the cooking water and the pesto and cook over low heat, tossing, until coated, 1 minute.
  • Transfer the pasta to the bowl and serve, passing extra cheese on the side.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 134gCalories: 628.5kcalCarbohydrates: 66.7gProtein: 16.9gFat: 33.9gSaturated Fat: 4.5gSodium: 6mgFiber: 6.1gSugar: 4g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Cheese, Easy, European, Fruit, Kosher, Nuts, Potluck
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