Pistachio-Mint Pesto

Pistachio-Mint Pesto

1/3 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios (see note)

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1 large clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest

1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

You can mix this by hand in a large mortar and pestle, but a mini food processor also works well.  Start with the garlic and a pinch of salt, and whiz it for a few seconds.  Add the mint leaves, the pistachios, lemon zest, juice, and about a tablespoon of the olive oil.  Process until nicely ground up, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add some pepper and the rest of the olive oil, and process until it’s all blended and pretty smooth.  If it’s possible to stream in the oil while the processor’s running, it works a little better, but don’t worry if you can’t do it that way.  Taste for salt, pepper, and lemon juice and serve.  If you want to store it for a couple of days in the fridge, put it in a small bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface to keep it from browning.

Note on pistachios:  It can be hard to find roasted, unsalted pistachios, but I nearly always see the salted ones in the grocery store.  It’s easy to rinse them, then roast them in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes to dry them out, and almost all the salt is gone.  If you do a big batch you can freeze the pistachios once they’re cooled and have them ready to use anytime.

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