Pistachio Pesto –

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Did you know that a classic pesto can have around 575 calories and 82 grams of fat per serving!!

I was just reading the pesto recipe on a package of basil and this is what I read:

Yield: 1 1/3 cups

4 oz fresh basil

1 cup grated romano or pecorino cheese

1 cup pine-nuts

1/2-1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic

I had to do the math, because just from looking at it, I could tell the fat and calories were going to be off the charts…And they were!!

It came out to a total of 2301 calories and 328 grams of fat for the recipe. And I only calculated for 1/2 of the oil, not the full cup!

Just for some pesto? Really?! I love pesto, but that just isn’t cool…. In any way.

My recipe makes 3/4 cup which is enough for a 12 ounce bag of pasta, so as a main (4 portions) that comes to a total, not counting the pasta, of 139 calories and 13 grams of fat per person.

Now that’s more like it!!

Yield: 3/4 cups- Enough for 12 ounces of pasta

1 clove of garlic

1/2 cup raw pistachios

4 oz fresh basil

2 Tablespoons olive oil

*3/4 teaspoon salt

*Use this amount of salt if tossing with pasta. If you want it for a spread or for another application, use 1/4 teaspoon.


Remove basil leaves and discard stems. Wash and dry basil.

Put garlic, pistachios and salt in a food processor and process until nuts are chopped into small pieces. Approx 20-25 seconds

Add basil leaves. Turn on processor and slowly drizzle in oil. Process until basically smooth, but still retains some texture,  scraping once.

*It will be salty. Don’t panic! When you toss it with the pasta, it will be just right.

Cook noodles according to package. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water before draining the pasta.

Put the pesto into the pot you cooked the noodles in.  Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and stir to blend.

Add pasta and toss to evenly coat. Adjust salt to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tip: The pesto freezes, so if you don’t use it all, or want to make a big batch, freeze away!