I am a sucker for pesto pasta, and this pesto incorporates pistachios instead of the classic pine nut for an exciting, nutty twist. Toasted pistachios are blended with other California specialty crop items such as fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, add olive oil for a simple and easy sauce that is perfect for pasta, sandwiches, salads, or toast. Of course, any proper pesto also needs a heavy hand of grated Parmesan. The recipe makes a little extra pesto, so use the leftovers in salad dressings, on toast, with eggs, and in sandwiches.
The pasta is then topped with fresh, creamy burrata for a luxurious, cheesy topping that balances out the zippy, garlicky pesto. You can make the pesto ahead of time and freeze it for a future pasta emergency. You can also double the recipe if you plan to use the pesto for an everyday sauce or spread.
After you’ve made the pesto, all of the cooking goes down in one pot which makes for a super easy clean up. Once the pasta is ready to be served, I like to garnish the pasta with a pinch of chili flakes for a kick of heat, an extra handful of chopped pistachios, and a drizzle of olive oil. The ingredients for this dish are so simple, yet the final product feels restaurant worthy. If rigatoni isn’t your pasta shape of choice, use a different short shape (like penne or rotini) or opt for a longer noodle like spaghetti or linguine. Make this for an easy weeknight dinner or invite a couple friends over and make it the centerpiece of your next dinner party. Not to mention, this pesto pasta is definitely picky eater approved.
One of my favorite things about living in California has been the proximity to the best produce, nuts, and dairy that is grown right here in the state. Whenever possible, I always try to buy from California farmers and look for items that are produced in state so I know they’re fresh and grown locally. I like to refer to this chart as a reminder for what’s in season. Happy cooking!