Ever since I went to Italy this fall, I've been dreaming of trying to recreate the pistachio sauce for pasta I had there but was nervous I wouldn't even be able to come close. Well, folks...I've done it! My very own pistachio pasta recipe is ready for the world and I'm so excited to share it with you.
Creamy Pistachio Sauce for Pasta: Ingredients
I made mine with casarecce pasta because it's excellent for holding pasta sauce, but feel free to experiment with what you have. Along with pasta, you'll need...
- Fresh basil
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Shelled pistachios (I used roasted and salted pistachios)
- Pasta water
- Olive oil
- Diced white onion
- Heavy cream or whipping cream
- Salt and pepper (you'll have to play around with these depending on if your pistachios are already salted, etc.)
You'll need to bust out our food processor for this one because we're going to make a pistachio pesto of sorts. Once you make it in the food processor then add it to the pan to mix with the cream, etc. it turns into this really delicious creamy pistachio sauce with a gorgeous green color.
Tips and Notes
Casarecche is perfect for this recipe because this pasta holds onto the pistachio sauce really well! If you sub in a different pasta, just make sure it's one that will hold onto the sauce well.
Using fresh basil, garlic, and freshly shredded parmesan (rather than pre-shredded in a bag...don't do it!) will make a BIG difference in the overall taste and quality of this recipe. Since there aren't a ton of ingredients, you really need to "get the good stuff" to ensure the best result.
Be patient when you're making your pistachio pesto. You can play around with ingredients to make sure you get the right consistency and taste. It will look clumpy and strange at first, but once you add it to the pan and mix in the cream, etc. it will turn into a really vibrant and beautiful pasta sauce!
ALSO: If you want a little heat, go ahead and add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce!
Creamy Pistachio Pasta Sauce
- Food processor
For the Pistachio "Pesto"
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- ⅔ cup roasted and salted pistachios, without shells chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup parmesan freshly shredded from the block
- 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
For the Pasta
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup white onion finely diced
- 12 oz pasta measured dry, I used casarecce
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ⅔ cup parmesan freshly shredded from the block
- salt and pepper
- pasta water reserve at least ½ cup before draining, you won't need to use all of this though
For the Pistachio Pesto
- Roughly chop your pistachios into small bits. To the base of your food processor, add the chopped pistachios, basil leaves, garlic cloves, parmesan, and some salt and pepper. Mix until combined.
- Slowly pour the olive oil into the food processor while it's on, stopping to scrape down the sides. Keep going until you get a pesto-like consistency.
For the Pasta
- Cook your pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Before draining the pasta, reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
- In a large pan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the diced onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until tender and fragrant.
- Add the pistachio pesto to the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Stir well, cooking for two minutes.
- Slowly add the cream to the pan, mixing constantly. Once all of the cream is added and the sauce is mixed and well-incorporated, add the cooked pasta to the pan. Toss to coat.
- Add the other ⅔ cup of parmesan to the pasta. Stir, and add a few tablespoons (or more) of reserved pasta water until you get the consistency you want.Add salt and pepper, and taste test to adjust seasonings accordingly. Serve with the extra chopped pistachios and more parmesan on top.
Please let me know how you like this when you try it! I hope you love it as much as I do.
Oh...and if you're looking for the perfect thing to serve alongside it, my absolutely outrageous cheesy garlic bread was MADE for it.
And if you're looking for even more recipes with pistachio, you should also try my puff pastry twists with pistachio cream! My raspberry pistachio butter bars are always a hit too. Dessert, anyone?
Until next time!
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