Sicily is known for its pistachios, so it’s no surprise that the colorful, subtly sweet nuts feature heavily in the region’s desserts and savory dishes. This recipe is Milk Street’s take on a pistachio and tomato-dressed pasta from Siracusa. It uses lemon zest and mint as accent ingredients, making the flavors are fresh and bright.
- 12 ounces pasta
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint
- Grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, to serve
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the oil and tomatoes. Cook, stirring only once or twice, until the tomatoes have softened and the oil has taken on a reddish hue, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in half the pistachios, 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking water, . teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly reduced and the tomatoes are completely softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the pasta and lemon zest, then cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed most of the liquid but is still quite saucy, 2 to 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in the mint, then taste and season with salt and pepper. If the paste is dry, add more cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a serving bowl, then sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and drizzle with additional oil. Serve with cheese.