Basil Pistachio Pesto

Talk about longevity: Pistachio trees can bear fruit for two hundred years, and they’ve been doing that for a long, long time. Pistachios are even mentioned in the Bible. Pistachios are a little wellness center unto themselves, rich in potassium and B6. Their buttery taste is also extremely addictive, and I have pictures of my green hands to prove it. That’s one reason why I’ve chosen to use them in this pesto, rather than the traditional pine nuts. When I prepare this for guests, it seldom makes it to the dining room table, but instead ends up on crackers, carrots, pinkies . . . whatever people can find for dipping when they wander into the kitchen. MAKES 2/3 CUP

1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon water (optional)

Put the basil, pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until well blended. For a thinner pesto, add the water and briefly process again. Taste; you may want to add a squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of salt.