Gluten Free, Low Fat Pistachio Pasta by Carol Kicinski

Rating: 
Yield: 
6 servings.
Ingredients: 

1 cup Unsalted pistachios – use divided
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 ½ pounds Gluten-free rice pasta
1 Small white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1-2 Cloves garlic, minced
4 Anchovy fillets
½ teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon Black pepper
2 Cups nonfat or low fat milk or dairy-free milk
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated plus more for garnish (optional – leave out for dairy free)
Salt 

Instructions: 

Put ¾ cup of the pistachios in a food processor and grind until fine. Roughly chop the remaining ¼ cup of pistachios (about ⅛-inch pieces) and set aside for garnish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente – usually 2 minutes less than recommended on the package directions. Stir the pasta occasionally while cooking to prevent it from sticking to itself.
While pasta is cooking make the sauce. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil; then add the chopped onion. Cook onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the minced garlic, anchovy fillets, red and black peppers. Cook for 2 minutes, smashing the anchovies as they cook to dissolve into the olive oil. Add the ¾ cup of ground pistachios and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the milk, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to maintain a slight boil and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. There will be some extra liquid in the sauce, but it will be absorbed by the pasta.
Add the ¼ cup parmesan cheese if you are using it. Taste the sauce and add salt if necessary. Turn off the heat.
When the pasta is finished cooking, remove 2 or 3 ladles of the pasta-cooking water and reserve and then drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the hot pan it was cooked in, add the pistachio sauce and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, tossing the pasta with the sauce to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to the dish if the sauce seems too thick.
Serve with the reserved chopped pistachios sprinkled on the pasta and some additional parmesan cheese if using.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!