My Recipe Box

Cavatappi with Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto


Serves 4 to 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

This unusual pesto doesn’t contain cheese—it gets all of its richness from pistachios. For a tasty variation, try substituting broccoli and red bell peppers for the cauliflower and carrots.

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into small (1/2- to 3/4 -inch) florets (about 6 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and then cut on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick
  • 7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 lb. cavatappi
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Put the cauliflower and carrots on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2‚ Tbs. of the olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt and toss to coat. Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and continue roasting until tender and golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, pulse the cilantro, pistachios, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the remaining 5‚ Tbs. oil and purée until the sauce is very smooth. Add the lemon juice and 3/4 tsp. salt and pulse to mix.

Boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain well and return the pasta to the pot. Toss the warm pasta with the roasted vegetables and pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Start the meal with an Escarole Salad with Olives and Garlic Croutons.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 460, Fat (kcal): 22, Fat Calories (g): 200, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 13, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14, Carbohydrates (mg): 54, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 3.5, Sodium (g): 670, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 7,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Phenomenal! Easy, quick, nutritious and delicious. What more can you ask for? The pesto is perfect. Everyone in my diehard, Parmesan loving family thought there was cheese in the recipe. I did reduce the garlic to two cloves based on other reviewers recommendations which was a good move.

This was fabulous. Quick and easy. Delicious. It is a keeper. Just take out the green folds in the center of the clove. It will cut the pungency of the garlic. Love, love, loved this dish.

Yum! I had some Cilantro and Walnut Pesto in the freezer, so I chopped up some pistachios to toss in with the pasta. Everyone, including those who do not like cauliflower, enjoyed the dish.

I really liked this. After reading reviews that said the garlic was too strong, I roasted 5 cloves still in the skin with the cauliflower and carrots, then added the roasted garlic to the pesto. I also added almost 3/4 of pasta water to thin the pesto. The boys (7 and 10) weren't thrilled, but ate it without complaint.

My husband loved this (as did I). Always trying to get him to eat vegetarian. A good pasta topping always helps. Used a good-quality fusilli as I could not find cavatappi. Also sprinked some Reggiano parmesean, but also tasted great without it.

This was delicious! I subbed angel hair because thats all I had on hand. What a great flavor. The pistachios almost give it a sweetness. I might back off on the garlic slightly since its a raw sauce but we loved this!

Very tasty pasta. It just happened to be what I had in my fridge. It is quick and easy to make with little mess to clean up. The pesto is flavourful and creamy. I added some pasta water to make it more smooth. The pesto maybe had a bit too much garlic. Great meat free meal with big flavours.

Cookbooks, DVDs & More