Should I turn it into a pasta ingredient? Directly, as part of the pasta dough, or indirectly?
Let's try indirectly.
The mating of cilantro with pistachio kernels is a natural match, but few people get the nuts, unless they are still in the shell. A pound bag of the shelled nuts costs less than $20.00 at some large volume stores.
The first time I bought a bag, it was because I wanted to eat a bunch of them without the time and hassle of tweaking them out of their little houses.
I discovered that I missed the obsessive moves one makes going after the kernels, taking five or ten out of a bag at a time, and then finding a place to put the empty shells, as I chomped on the little kernels.
If you've made basic basil-pine nut pesto, you probably know that it tastes far better homemade than anything store bought. This is more important with cilantro-pistachio pesto, because lemon or lime juice is a component of many recipes. In some, the rind is also important. There's no way to substitute the freshness of newly squeezed and shredded citrus to anything available in a store.
We put up a lot of basil pesto as an uncooked freezer product. It stores well for several years. Cilantro-pistachio pesto might be more problematic. I'm putting five batches in the freezer, so I can see. But on my wife's advice, we won't add the lemon until it has thawed for use.
Here's a basic recipe for cilantro-pistachio-lemon pesto:
2 cups cilantro leaves*
1 cup pistachio nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
2 or 3 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
finely shredded rind of 1 lemon
Like other pestos, this one can be used in many ways:
alone, on freshly cooked pastaWe served our experimental batch on Friday, mixed in with Bulgar wheat. Yum. It was far less weighty than if we'd had it with pasta.
as a coating to a baked dish - added late in the cooking
as part of a vinaigrette
with mayonnaise added, as a garnish to spread
No salt is necessary in this pesto, because the pistachio nuts have already been salted rather fully.
There are variations to this recipe. Some include lime as a lemon substitute. I can imagine tangerine. Others toss in some pepper or another.
Basil pesto is invariably linked to shredded cheese like Parmesan. Cilantro pesto does not beg for cheese. We haven't used any with it yet. What do you think?