I had been using a considerable amount of pistachios from Bronte, Sicily lately to the point of being excessive. Just for the bread swirls of my kids, my supply of ground pistachios was almost depleted. It's a good thing my mother-in-law was in Sicily recently and replenished my dwindling supply. When I was there last month, I brought home all sorts of pistachio products from Bronte that I could find. Pesto di pistacchio, crema di pistacchio (cream), pistacchio granulato (ground) & croccantini di pistacchio (pistachio brittles). I was a traveling advertisement of the town.
I got this recipe from Profumo di Sicilia and curiosity got the better of me why the pistachios from Bronte are referred to as the l'oro verde (the green gold). They are considered one of the best, well perhaps the best pistachios in the world as evidenced by their gastronomical price (are they serious?) which I learned from David Lebovitz's pistachio gelato recipe where he wrote extensively about these prized pistachios from a small town in Sicily.
I feel guilty. I had been sprinkling them everywhere without limit. Maybe now, I will use these l'oro verde sparingly. They are really good. I first tried them in a pistachio gelato of a Sicilian gelateria in Rome and it was the first time I encountered pistachios that can actually be tasted. They are usually so subtle that you can just imagine the taste. I find it awkward when, after taking a few spoonfuls of pistachio ice cream, my eating buddy elbows me conspiratorially remarking how good pistachio ice creams are. What pistachios? I don't even know how they really taste like. I just know that they are green. Bronte pistachios changed this whole perspective because these very green nuts are nutty, flavorful and the best I've tasted. My love for Bronte pistachios was established. Now we're talking pistachios.
Do you know that the pistachio plants have to be planted in groups of 8 females & 1 male? The male plants have to be windward while the females are downwind so that the pollen from the male plants can be transported by the wind to the pistils of the female plants. I had to share that. It's quite interesting.
When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be very good. I couldn't wait to try it. I was not disappointed. It's a scrumptious dish that puts together the Mediterranean flavors. If you want something different, try it. It's worth your time & effort. I think you will agree with me. It won't disappoint you either.
There are some changes I did from the original recipe: I replaced the parsley with thyme. Instead of sparkling white wine, I used a normal one. I augmented the amount of pistachios from 4 tbsp. to 6 and I doubled the amount of tomatoes. Lastly, I used ciriole pasta instead of fresh chitarra although I would definitely use chitarra the next time I cook it.
Ciriole with Pistachios of Bronte, Sword Fish & Tomatoes
- 400 g. ciriole (or any slightly thick long pasta like chitarra)
- 250 g. sword fish, diced
- 150 g. daterini tomatoes (or grape or cherry tomatoes), halved
- 6 tbsp. ground pistachios
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- fresh thyme
- Boil water in a pot. When it boils, add rock salt. Put the pasta and cook according to the cooking time suggested in the box.
- Meantime, saute' garlic in a big saucepan with extra virgin olive oil. When golden, discard. Add the tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add sword fish and put up the flame. When they start to color, add the white wine, maintaining the high flame. Season with salt & pepper.
- Cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes a bit thick. Add the thyme and half of the pistachios.
- Mix in cooked pasta. Toss well with the sauce. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining pistachios.