Pasta with Pistachio Pesto and Prawns

This is one of my favourite pasta dishes from Sicily. It is both extremely simple in terms of ingredients and steps, but it is both time consuming and requires practice and experimentation to get it just right.

This dish, like so many in Sicily, are a living reminder of Sicily's rich past that we explored in an earlier article here. As mentioned, the cultivation of pistachios is part of the Arab legacy. Pasta is an even more ancient tradition, refined over the last two millennia at least. The frying of garlic in olive oil is thought to have come from the Jewish population on the island. Finally, the addition of prawns—ideally they would be Sicilian red prawns (gamberi rossi di Mazara)—provides the touch of the sea, omnipresent in Sicilian cuisine from the very beginning.

Spaghetti alla chitarra con pesto di pistacchi e gamberi, © Douglas Arthur Pierce

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