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Fusilli with Pistacchio-Arugula Pesto

Fusilli with Pistachio-Arugula Pesto

Jessica Braider
While classic basil pesto is one of the most ingenious food creations of all time, experimenting with other nuts and flavors in pesto, like this version with pistachios, arugula, and lemon, is a lot of fun, too. Arugula can be a little peppery, but baby arugula is milder. If it is still too peppery for your family, substitute baby spinach.
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 8 servings


  • 16 oz. fusilli noodles (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachio nuts or use sunflower seeds, cashews, or other nut or seed
  • 5 oz. baby arugula or use baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon juice only, about 2 Tbsp.
  • 1 - 2 clove garlic


  • Cook the noodles in salted water according to the package directions until they are al dente, and reserve about 1/2 cup of their cooking water before draining.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, pulse the pistachios and 2 packed cups of the arugula until they are finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the remaining arugula and reserved cooking water, to the food processor and pulse until it is well blended but not too smooth (unless you prefer it that way).
  • Drain the noodles, toss them immediately with the pesto and the remaining arugula, slowly adding the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as needed. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 48 hours.


Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking (remember to set aside ½ cup of the cooking water), grate the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, juice the lemon, peel the garlic, make and refrigerate the pesto, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Add 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. lemon zest to the pesto and/or serve the dish with freshly ground pepper.
Tip: Arugula, a dark green salad leaf with a pleasantly peppery taste, is sometimes referred to as rocket, roquette, rugula, or rucola. Arugula is a great source of vitamins A and C and folic acid.
Video: Watch Jessica make this on Facebook Live!
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% basked upon daily values): Calories 325, Total Fat: 12g, 19%; Saturated Fat: 2g, 9.5%; Cholesterol: 3mg, 1%; Sodium: 53mg, 2%; Total Carbohydrate: 46g, 15.5%; Dietary Fiber: 3g, 12.5%; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 11g
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