Sicilian Pistachio Pizza

About a month ago, Paulus and I had lunch with some friends at a restaurant in La Jolla that we hadn’t tried before. Their thing is Italian food and amazing ocean views. The restaurant had a number of pizzas on their menus, but I’m always rather wary of ordering fast-food-y things from good restaurants. Not because such restaurants don’t do these types of food well, but because they usually do other types of food even better. So I ended up with a fresh pasta dish. It was good, but as it turned out, Paulus’ Sicilian Mortadella and Pistachio Pizza totally put my choice to shame.

Man, that pizza was good (and yes, I played the baby card in order to have a slice. Paulus isn’t really into meal sharing all that much, more’s the pity..). As far as I can tell, it consisted pretty much of a white base, mortadella, pistachio pesto, and cheese. On paper, I just can’t see that working, but it did, and I think this must be attributed to the pesto. I had never had pistachio pesto before, but it is very worth having.

The pizza was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards. Over the next days and weeks, I obsessed about whether I could recreate it. Then, when in the course of our bi-weekly shopping trip, I stumbled over mortadella at the store (and here I have to interject how weird it is to be paying for mortadella as f0r a gourmet ingredient, when in Denmark, it is often the cheapest deli meat you can find. That said, the mortadella I got here was clearly a much better quality than what I’m used to…), I knew it was fate. I’ve been craving deli meats for much of this pregnancy, although I think this mostly stems from a sort of rebellion against the recommendation that pregnant women shouldn’t eat deli meat unless it’s heated. But in any case, combining my obsession with the pistachio pizza with doctor-approved consumption of deli meat was too good to pass up.

Consequently, I got all the ingredients and made the pizza. I altered a few things from the restaurant version – added fresh basil and lemon peel, and subtracted burrata. But it was still absolutely amazing!

So hooray for pistachio pesto. I only wonder what other dishes you could improve with it. If you know of anything, please let me know! And if you want to try making this glorious condiment, have a look at my recipe below, or this Saveur Magazine recipe, which was my starting point.

Pistachio Pesto

Servings: 4


  • 1 cup pistachios raw, shelled and unsalted
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • 1/4 handful fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • water


  1. Chop or grate the parmesan, and put it in a food processor with the pistachios and the basil. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice and add a pinch of salt to start with.  

  2. Process while you drizzle in first olive oil, and then water until you reach the consistency you would like. 

  3. Taste and add lemon juice and salt to taste.

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