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Sicilian nut pesto

This is a recipe for a multi-nut pesto from sicilia.

 Pistachios, almonds, hazelnutz and pine nuts, combined with fresh basil and mint make this pesto a real energizer. While the pistachios nourish the liver and the kidneys, the hazelnuts deliver important Vitamin E which has an antioxidant function. Fresh basil (antibacterial) and mint (stimulates the circulation) round the delicious taste off. You can use this as a sauce for pasta, or as a topping for fish, chicken, vegetables, or foccacia. It also makes a killer sandwich spread.

Source: based on a recipe in Erica DeMane's The Flavors of Southern Italy and The Travelers Lunchbox, tested and personalized by Kocoon spa

by Kocoon spa

Yield: about 2 cups

Notes: The mint adds an underlying note of freshness to the basil that beautifully compliments the rich profusion of nuts. There are versions of this pesto that contain cheese, but I prefer this one without as there are already so many subtle and complex flavors vying for your attention, and the nuts make it plenty rich without.

1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios

1/2 cup blanched almonds

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 plump cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 cup (packed) basil leaves, chopped or torn

2/3 cup (packed) mint leaves, chopped or torn

+ about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste 

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Begin by toasting the nuts in separate batches on a baking sheet just until golden and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes for the almonds and hazelnuts, and 7-9 minutes for the pistachios and pine nuts. (If you think you'll be vigilant enough, you can stick them all in the oven together in different pans, removing each kind of nut as it turns golden.) Set them all aside to cool. Using a towel or moistened hands, rub the skins off the hazelnuts. Combine everything in a food processor (or a mortar and pestle, if you like things done the old-fashioned way) and pulse until reduced to a slightly chunky paste, adding more oil if necessary.  Taste for salt, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can use this as a sauce for pasta, or as a topping for fish, chicken, vegetables, or foccacia. It also makes a killer sandwich spread.