Three Summer Pestos – Arugula, Pistachio, and Green Olive

Remember print magazines, or what the industry calls slicks? Nowadays, buying National Geographic or Sunset magazine seems passe and is probably not very good for the planet. So much of the information we consume these days comes from the Internet, online newspapers, and articles; it seems redundant to buy something in print. Yet, if you’re like me (old school), you get a thrill from getting that colorful volume in the mail or off the grocery store shelf. You can’t wait to leisurely flip through the pages, looking at stylized photos and reading the timely articles.

3 summer pestos
Arugula and Basil Pesto (all photos by An Italian Dish)

My dear neighbor, Pat, turns 90 this year. She was still in diapers when Gourmet put out its first issue. More than just a food magazine; Gourmet, “the magazine of good living,” ran monthly features such as The Wine Journal, A Gourmet at Large, An Opinionated Palate, (love the snarky Barbara Kafka), and Travel Journal.

Pleasing the experienced gourmand without being supercilious, every month Gourmet turned out 150 pages of food in bucolic settings, well-written articles, and stellar recipes. During the last ten years of publication, Ruth Reichl ran and edited each monthly issue, and boy was it a class act. Conde Nast decided to end publication in 2009. Ruth writes about her time at Gourmet in her book, Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir.

During a decluttering jag, neighbor Pat gave me her Gourmet collection from the 1990s. The beautiful set of slicks holds a special place in my cookbook collection. I covet my dozen or so issues and refer to them often when in need of cooking inspiration. I especially love Italian recipes found on many of the pages.

Here I give you three of Gourmet’s summer pestos: Arugula, Pistachio, and Green Olive Pesto. Each can be employed as a pasta sauce, a bruschetta spread, or a crudités dip. Happy picnicking!

Arugula Basil Pesto

arugula pesto

Arugula Basil Pesto

Full of flavor and green goodness, you can whip up this pesto in less than 15 minutes.
Prep Time 15 mins
Course main dish, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch fresh arugula (about 3 packed cups)
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiana cheese
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 garlic clove - medium
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Mince the garlic clove.
  • In a food processor, add walnuts, arugula, salt and garlic. Pulse until walnuts are ground fine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until a creamy consistency is reached. Adjust the amount of olive oil to suit your own taste.

Notes

Makes about 1 cup. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 3 days. To prevent the pesto from turning brown in the fridge, lay plastic wrap down right on the surface, thus preventing exposure to air.
Keyword easy and fast, pesto

Pistachio Pesto

3 Summer pestos
Pistachio Pesto (photos by An Italian Dish)

Pistachios have a long history, beginning thousands of years ago in the Middle East. They eventually found their way to America with California generating 99% of the pistachio production in the US. A famous Italian cultivar, the Bronte pistachio, grown in Sicily, is harvested every other September. It needs police protection due to the DOP label.

Pistachio Pesto

Salty, full of flavor, from Italy's south
Prep Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios
  • ¼ cup grated parmigiana cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • zest of ½ lemon

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, blend the minced garlic, pistachios, cheese, basil and lemon zest. Once a paste is formed, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until it is the desired consistency.
  • Serve over hot pasta or on top of crusty bread or crackers. Heck, eat it with a spoon if you so desire; it's that good. Will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
Keyword antipasto, pasta sauce, pesto

Green Olive Pesto

3 Summer Pestos
Green Olive Pesto on crackers with roasted red pepper and capers (photos by An Italian Dish)

Green Olive Pesto

Rich and creamy with pine nuts and Italian parsely
Prep Time 30 mins
Course antipasto, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup green olives such as Castelvecchio, drained
  • cup pinenuts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed into a paste
  • 1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmigiana

Instructions
 

  • To pit the olives (if needed)- Smash the olives with the flat side of a chef's knife and remove and discard the pits.
  • In a food processor, add the olives, pine nuts, garlic, and parsley. Pulse to blend into a paste. With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and the parmigiana until blended.
  • Serve over pasta or on bread or crackers. Makes 1½ cups.
Keyword creamy pesto, green olives, pine nuts

Want another summer pesto? For the classic Genovese basil pesto, click here.
Buon appetito!

3 thoughts

  1. All three of these sound delicious. Pesto is way way WAY up there on my favorite foods list.

Your comments are always welcome!