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bucatini pistachio pesto

This post was created in partnership with Barilla®. All opinions are our own.

Looking for some Spring dinner inspiration? We have a recipe that will certainly satisfy your seasonal search. If you enjoy pasta as much as we do, and you love trying new ways to prepare pesto, this is the perfect provision for your Meatless Monday.

This recipe is a winner—literally. 2019 is the 8th year of the Barilla Pasta World Championship, a worldwide competition that brings together twenty chefs from around the globe to represent their country and compete for the title of World Master of Pasta. Barilla has been a Master of Pasta for more than 140 years, and they created this culinary competition to celebrate the beloved ingredient. The USA qualifying event was held on April 11 during the opening night of the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival,  bringing together 8 skilled chefs with a background in pasta to compete for the US spot at the final event in October. The winner was Sean Turner, executive chef of Louie in St. Louis, Missouri with his recipe for Bucatini Pistachio Pesto. As soon as we read about this, we knew we had to make it. Loaded with fresh herbs and toasted pistachios, we are thrilled to introduce you to this palatable pasta.

We have an important saying here at Husbands That Cook. If you’ve watched our weekly Live Instagram shows, then you’ve heard us say many times: “Always toast your nuts!” Whenever a recipe calls for nuts of any kind, toasting them first brings out a deep, nutty flavor that enhances whatever you are making—whether it’s sweet or savory—and once you’ve experienced the magic of toasted nuts, there’s no going back. In this recipe, Sean Turner uses toasted pistachios for the base of his pesto, and we can see why the judges chose his creation to take home the first-place prize. This is a prime example of how versatile pasta is—it’s ideal for any occasion and can be prepared differently throughout the year. Glowing green with fresh Spring herbs, this tasty pesto combines parsley, fennel, and basil, unlike any other recipe we have seen. With a splash of lemon juice and lots of grated parmesan, this dish is also unique as it calls for diced shallots instead of the usual garlic. Pairing with Barilla Collezione Bucatini allows the sauce to perfectly cling to every bite. Topped with a handful of toasted pistachios and extra cheese, this creative take on pesto is positively pleasing!

Pesto is easy to make. First you toast the nuts, then combine all the ingredients in a food processor, blend them all up, and that’s it. You can prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking and have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes. Perfetto! Mangiamo, e buon appetito!

Bucatini Pistachio Pesto
adapted from Chef Sean Turner
serves 3 to 4

1 12-ounce (340 g) package Barilla Collezione Bucatini
1 3/4 ounces (50 g / about 1/3 cup) shelled pistachios, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 ounces (42 g / about 1 cup) basil leaves
3/4 ounce (22 g / about 1 cup) flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 ounce (22 g / about 1 cup) fennel fronds (green parts only)
3/4 ounce (22 g / about 1/4 cup) diced shallots
1 3/4 ounces (50 g / about 1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (118 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Place the shelled pistachios in a dry skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the toasted nuts to a heatproof plate, and place in the fridge to cool briefly.

Fill a large, deep pot with at least 4 quarts of water, adding 1 teaspoon of salt per quart. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the Bucatini pasta. Cook according to package directions, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, place the lemon juice, basil, parsley, fennel, and shallots in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste. Add the cooled pistachios, parmesan, and salt, and pulse until finely chopped. Then, with the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and continue to blend until smooth. Taste for salt and lemon and adjust as needed.

When the pasta is al dente, reserve about a cup of the cooking water, then drain. Return the pasta to the pan, then add the pesto and 1 tablespoon of the cooking water, tossing to coat the pasta evenly. If the sauce seems dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is reached. Serve immediately while hot, topped with additional chopped pistachios and grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!