This pesto is excellent with seared halibut drizzled with lemon infused olive oil.
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and de-germed
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
3/4 cup shelled salted pistachio nuts
1/4 cup roasted unsalted almonds
60 larger, tender mint leaves
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large mortar, add 2 tablespoons of oil, add a pinch of salt, and then add the garlic. Crush with a pestle until a paste forms.
Add half the nuts, and crush to a medium-coarse meal. Add oil as needed to keep the mass moving.
Add the rest of the nuts and proceed to crush the reminder to a medium coarse meal.
Make a well in the center of the nuts and add half the mint leaves. Crush to pulverize the mint, adding a little oil as needed. Stir the entire contents of the mortar and crush the nuts some more.
Again, make a well in the center of the nuts, and add the rest of the mint. Crush to a pulp and then stir the mass around to amalgamate the mint into the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, then work the nuts to produce a fine grained paste. Add olive oil until the mixture is loose, but not quite liquid.
Taste for salt and oil balance and adjust as needed.
NOTES: Use this as you would pesto. Cook pasta until al dente, and then remove 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta into a colander. Add the pesto to a bowl large enough to hold the pasta. Add ½ a cup of the hot pasta water and stir to thin the sauce and combine well. Use more water if needed. Add the pasta, toss, and serve.
SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Chef Andrew Cohen.