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Pistachio Pesto Rigatoni

Pistachio pesto is a bright, vibrant and rich pesto which can be made in few easy steps! In under 30 minutes you can have a pasta dish packed with fresh flavours! 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: Mozzarella, Pasta, Pesto, Pistachio
Servings: 4


For the Pistachio Pesto

  • 150 g pistachios unsalted, unshelled and peeled
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Pasta dish

  • 320 g rigatoni pasta or any other short pasta *
  • 250 g fresh mozzarella di bufala or burrata


How to remove the pistachio skin

  • If your pistachios still have that purple skin you have to remove it. Start by placing the pistachios in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for about two minutes. Strain the pistachios from the water and place them in between a cloth towel. Rub them vigorously and the skin should peel off on its own.

How to make the pesto

  • Start by placing the pistachios in a mixer or in the mortar. Crush the pistachios finely until all the pistachios are broken evenly.
  • Add the olive oil and blend them together. If you want a chunkier pesto, as you can see in this recipe, the oil should be enough. However, if you want a smoother pesto, add more oil and blend them together for a longer period until you get a smooth and velvety texture.
  • Once you almost achieve your desired consistency, season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper and blend for one last time.

Assembly of the Rigatoni with the Pistachio Pesto

  • In a large pot, cook the pasta until al dente in salted water according to the instructions on the package.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain it but set aside about 1/4 of a cup of the pasta water.
  • Before serving the pasta, add the pasta to a pan with the pesto and the pasta water and mix well until it gets all creamy and thick.
  • Cut the mozzarella di bufala in chunks and place them on top of the pasta.
  • Serve immediately, with some crushed chili flakes and pepper on top.


*Based on the recommended serving on the packet, or depending on whether you want to serve this pasta as a starter or as a main dish. 
To store the Pistachio Pesto
  • You can store the pesto in the fridge, in a sealed container with a thin layer of olive oil on top. This can last up to a 1 week.
  • Pesto can also be stored in the freezer in a bag, container or jar. A great way to freeze it if you make a large batch is by freezing it in an ice cube tray. This will give you smaller portions and you don't have to use it all up at once.