A pesto of the Sicilian kind. Pistachio Pesto Pasta (Pasta al pesto di pistacchio) is an all nutty, flavorful sauce with a small amount of herbs versus the traditional pesto we are used to, mainly basil with few nuts. Perfect to be served with any pasta including gnocchi and so good on pizza.

A nutty pistachio pesto served over pasta in a white bowl

The last time I was in Italy, I had pistachio pesto twice. Once with pasta in Lake Como and again on pizza in Bologna. I’ve been perfecting my recipe ever since and this recipe is just how I had it in Italy. Simple, yet delicious.

Pistachio pesto pasta viewed from overhead on a white plate

There is very little green in this pistachio pesto pasta recipe because it is pistachio pesto (or pistacchio as they spell it in Italy) with very little green. an be made using, parsley, basil and/or mint. I like parsley because I want to be able to taste the nuttiness of the pistachios.

A fork full of pesto pasta

Sicily produces a very wide variety of pistachios, so it is only natural that they create a sauce that is mainly pistachios.

Homemade gnocchi served in pistachio pesto

I like to buy my nuts raw, in bulk and roast them myself because I make a lot of dishes with nuts like Basil Lemon Pesto and Sicilian Tomato Pesto. You can use already roasted, salts nuts for this, just wipe of some of the salt so the sauce is not too salty.

The cheese traditionally use for this sauce is Pecorino Romano. It has a stronger flavor than Parmesan because is made from sheets milk, so less is more because it will overpower the flavor as well as the salt content.

Serve simply with blistered cherry tomatoes (cooked in a pan of olive oil, just until they soften). Is one of the simplest and deliciously classic Italian ways to eat. Over store bought pasta or Homemade Gnocchi, see the picture above.

The recipes yields Yields 2 cups/ 402 grams.

If you’ve tried this Pistachio Pesto Pasta or any other recipe, please leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers.

Yield: 4

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

A bowl of pistachio pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes on the vine

Toasted pistachio nuts are transformed into a delicious pesto with parsley, pecorino and garlic.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) raw unsalted pistachios * see note
  • 3/4 cup (6 grams) of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) of pecorino (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • Salt and black pepper to taste (Pecorino is salty)
  • 1 cup (236 ml) extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
  2. Spread the pistachios onto a baking pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a blender except the olive oil. Pulse to break up the nuts and cheese. With the blender running, drizzle in the oil until the perfect pest consistency is reached. Make as thick or thin as you like.
  4. Serve over your favorite pasta.


Yields 2 cups/ 402 grams

if you can't find raw unsated pistachios, use salted, roasted pistachios, just wipe as much of the salt off as possible and watch the added salt amount.