Summer has begun and my garden is overflowing with the peppery goodness that is basil! I’m making a flat iron steak with arugula salad for dinner, and a peppery pesto would make a perfect complement to the flavors of both!
Peppery Pistachio Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup+/- extra virgin olive oil (I added more for thinner consistency)
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (if desired)
- Pulse basil and pine nuts in Vitamix/Food Processor: Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times.
- Add the garlic and cheese: Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the Vitamix/food processor with a rubber spatula.
- Stream in the olive oil: While the Vitamix/food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the Vitamix/food processor.
- Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, add more to taste.
This is a great sauce to spoon over grilled steak, chicken or fish; stir in to pasta or vegetables; liven up a baked potato; or pour over cream cheese or goat cheese to spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread. The choices are limited only buy your culinary imagination! #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Pairing a Wine With Your Pesto
When it comes to pairing a wine with your pesto, I usually follow the lead of Wine Enthusiast’s Nils Bernstein:
- For a dish centered around Lemon or Lime Basil – Sauvignon Blanc
- For Spicy Thai Basil driven dishes – Champagne or Blanc de Blancs
- For Sweet Genovese Basil (what most grocery stores carry) – Chardonnay
- If you’re using several different types of basil, for instance to crust a steak, – Bordeaux Blend or Cabernet Franc
Tonight, with the pesto over my steak and the peppery arugula salad with a ripe tomato from my garden, a 2016 Brecon Estate Zinfandel-Tannat was more than up to the task of not being intimidated by the flavors in the food! #GirlsGoneWine