Pistachio Pesto Pasta

I do love a bit of alliteration, and for those of you with small children that have watched Mr Popper’s Penguins as many times as I have (which is a lot), this would be the perfect plate for Pippi Pepennopolis, Mr Popper’s assistant who pretty much only speaks with words that start with a P. It’s easy to make, it’s full of green things (bonus) and it doesn’t take much longer to make than the time it takes to boil the pasta. Yummo. Serves 4.


400g pasta of choice

75g pistachio kernels

200g green veg (green beans, peas)

200g broad beans, remove outer skins

100g parmesan

25g bunch of basil, leaves only

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

A knob of butter

1 lemon, zest of whole + juice from half only

1 tbsp capers, chopped

Pinch of chilli flakes


  1. Boil the kettle and grab a large saucepan, large frying pan, and your blender / processor.
  2. Put your pasta on to boil in heaps of boiling water, giving it a good stir to make sure it doesn’t stick together while cooking. Set a timer for 7 minutes.
  3. Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for a couple of minutes, then chop them roughly.
  4. Put most of the pistachios in the blender along with the oil, most of the basil leaves, the garlic, and most of the cheese (cut into rough chunks). Blend until the pesto is smooth, but not too smooth, you want it to retain a little character. If you find your blender is struggling a bit, pour in a ladle full of the pasta’s cooking water to help it along.
  5. Melt the butter in the frying pan, scrape in the pesto, lemon zest and juice, capers, and chilli flakes, and mix the whole lot together to heat up a little.
  6. When your timer beeps, add the green veg into the pasta pot too, so that it’s all cooking together for another 3 minutes or so until your pasta is ready.
  7. Retain a cup full of the pasta water, then drain and mix into the pesto until fully coated, adding a slurp of the retained liquid to loosen it if needs be.
  8. Serve with the rest of the cheese grated over the top, and the remaining pistachios and basil leaves.
  9. Dive in.

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