Not Without Salt » pistachio “Where would we be without salt?” - James Beard Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:07:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mortadella and Smoked Mozzarella Panini with Pistachio Pesto Mon, 24 Jun 2013 23:25:56 +0000 Read more »]]>

Pistachio Pesto Panini // Not Without Salt

After I posted this simple pasta with creamy chevre, melted leeks and bacon I received a number of thank yous for sharing the sort of recipe that’s perfect for a weekday dinner and then came the requests for more like it.

I want this blog to not only be a source of inspiration but also to be used. I want to imagine the recipes, printed, set on your kitchen counter and getting splattered with a bit of olive oil and stained from strawberry juice. The thought of your computer opened up to this page on the edge of the counter while you cook this recipe makes me giddy, proud and a bit nervous – don’t drop your computer.

I want these recipes to feed you, your family and your neighbor down the street.

Inspiring, yet accessible – that’s what I’m going for. Not every recipe fits this category as I can also tend to get a bit crazy in the kitchen (hello, homemade bitters and butterfingers, I’m looking at you) but most, I hope, do.

Our dinners are rarely repeated, even more rarely cooked from an actual recipe and sometimes are so simple I fear they aren’t worth mentioning. But they’re real, simple and more often than not – quite delicious and satisfying. Unless you ask my kids. Their response is often moans and snarled lips if it’s anything other than a simple pasta or these sandwiches. However, there were no complaints with this meal.

The work comes from gathering the ingredients with this recipe. Mortadella and smoked mozzarella can be found at most stores and if you can’t find it use a good quality ham and go for an unsmoked cheese. Honestly, it’d still be a darn good sandwich without the meat.

The pesto nearly steals the show – it’s bright, fresh, peppery and hard to stop eating it with just a spoon. Like most of our weekday dinners, I try and think ahead and plan for the next day’s meals while I’m taking the time to cook this one. For that reason there’s a lot of pesto here. The next morning we stirred pesto into our eggs and then for dinner the following day there was a simple pesto pasta with a bit more cheese and roasted tomatoes. Suddenly a simple weekday dinner turns into an even simpler dinner for the next night.

I hope this recipe gets used, splattered, shared and enjoyed.


Pistachio Pesto Panini // Not Without Salt



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Mortadella and Smoked Mozzarella Panini with Pistachio Pesto

makes about 2 cups pesto

You really can use practically any combination of herbs you like. I went for arugula and mint because I love the pepper flavor the arugula adds and the bright and fresh taste of mint. And, this is the real reason - because I have both growing in abundance in the garden.

1 1/2 cups arugula, tightly packed

2 tablespoons fresh mint

1 cup pistachios, roasted and salted

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the arugula, mint, pistachios, garlic and Parmesan in a food processor. Pulse until everything is well pureed. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to get it all well chopped.

While the machine is running stream in the lemon juice and olive oil. Don’t process too much as this tends to bruise the olive oil and add a slight bitterness.

Taste and adjust the flavors. A little salt here is fine too.

For the sandwich:

smoked mozzarella, sliced


olive oil

thick slices of good bread

Get a grill pan or panini press nice and hot. A skillet works fine too.

Drizzle the outside of the bread with olive oil. Slather a good amount of pesto on the inside of both halves. Layer in slices of mortadella with smoked mozzarella.

Grill the sandwich on both sides until golden, crisp and the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

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