The name of this pasta apparently means priest strangler and is often served with tomato sauce, minced meat ragu and seafood, though it also works very well with pesto. In this pesto, basil is swapped out for mint, to bring freshness alongside the richness of the pistachios and if you fancied it, a few handfuls of fresh peas, broad beans or even sliced runner beans thrown in at the end would work brilliantly.
160g pistachios, shelled
1 large bunch mint (approx. 60g), washed, dried and leaves picked from the stem (can also substitute with basil)
1 garlic clove, peeled
Juice of ½ lemon
60g 22-month Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
400g Strozzapreti Pasta
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place a frying pan on a low to medium heat and when hot, add the pistachios, then toast for around 3-4 minutes, or until light golden and a nutty aroma has been released.
Using a small food processor is the easiest way to make the pesto but chopping everything by hand or in a pestle and mortar gives a less processed, more natural texture – it is down to personal preference. Chop the mint with a sharp knife until you have small pieces then place in a bowl.
Finely chop the garlic then crush to a paste using the flat side of your knife and add some salt to help to it break down. Add to the mint, cover with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper then stir.
Chop the pistachios so that you have mostly small pieces, but it does not have to be completely uniform, then add to the mint.
Add the Olive Oil then the Parmesan and stir through. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Cover the pesto and keep in the fridge until ready to use. This can be done a few hours in advance.
Place a large pot of salted water on a high heat, cover and bring to the boil. Add the Pasta and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain off all the water, then place the pasta back in the pan and stir through the pesto. The residual water on the pasta should help keep everything loose, but if it looks a little dry, add a splash of hot water and a little Olive Oil. Once thoroughly combined, serve.