Saturday, July 18

Under The Pergola Nest by Tamara Recipe Share: Lunch with Out of Town Guests, An Easy Pistachio Lemon & Basil Pesto with Fettuccine

Decorating, Hosting Weekend Guests and Cooking --
Summer 2015 Under The Pergola Recipe Share:
Spiffing up the beach house for weekend guests this week in East Hampton leaves little time for cooking.  For this weekend's  lunch by the pool I need a quick and easy recipe.
photo (top and bottom) new Root Cellar Designs pillows 
in the guest bedroom and master bedroom

So, I whipped up this
Pistachio Lemon & Basil Pesto with Fettuccine
for our lunch by the pool with out of town guests!

Pesto is one of those recipes that is easy to make and all it takes it fresh ingredients and a Cuisinart food processor.  When visiting Tuscany many moons ago, we dined under the stars at a lovely restaurant and sampled a rich, nutty and lemon pesto over fresh pasta, and I have never forgotten that dish.  It could have been the Poplar trees in the vista from under the lemon tree we dined, but that pesto stays forever frozen in my mind as the best meal I've ever had.  This summer while cooking a late afternoon lunch by the pool and under our pergola in East Hampton, I decided to try out the recipe.  I pulled out the handwritten note I had scribbled all those years ago after urging the chef to share with me the ingredients.  As in any good dish, it begins with fresh ingredients but since none of these items are cooked, this is especially true for pesto.  After  combining it with a thick, fresh Fettuccine (which I did not make bought a good Italian brand from Dean & Deluca) my guests were impressed.  They are now as equally obsessed with this better-than-usual pesto that kind of tastes like pesto but so much more.  The best part of making this is it can be made ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, so preparing this on Saturday was as simple as boiling the water for the pasta.  Secrets that make this special (other than the fresh roasted pistachios) is the bit of mint and the fresh lemon and lemon zest and I added these to the dish after trying it a few different ways and it's my favorite combination.  The basil and pistachio are the dominating flavor but the hint of mint and lemon makes it fresh too.
1 cup roasted pistachio nuts
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup parmigiana cheese (in chunks)
4 leaves of fresh mint 
squeeze of a half of a lemon
zest of a half of a lemon
1 TBS kosher or flake salt 
1 TBS black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flake
3 whole cloves garlic (I use 4 but we like a lot of garlic)
notes to remember:  
after making the pesto to a paste-like consistency keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and it can be used for many purposes -- as a dip for chicken, a sauce for pesto, put a dollop on top of rice, or even a spread to serve with crusty bread.  When making it as a main course for dinner, let the pesto sit out at room temperature and add a bit more olive oil into the bowl after combining it with freshly cooked pasta.  I do not heat up the pesto mixture as it changes the flavor and color.  After cooking the pasta to an al dente (to the bite consistency) drain the pasta and swirl it into a large bowl with a large dollop of the pesto in it.  (a little pesto goes a long way)  and drizzle a bit more olive oil as you mix it together.  Serve with fresh grated parmigiana cheese on top.  
To begin:
Put your pistachios in the mixer and blend them evenly (pulsing over again) for a couple of minutes.  Add all the ingredients to the pistachios (except for the olive oil) and pulse a few times until blended a bit, then through the top opening add your olive oil while pulsing until the entire paste is blended.  Run the mixer for a minute so the paste is fully blended.  Refrigerate. 

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara