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Cavatappi with Pistachio Arugula Pesto and Sun Gold Tomatoes

A bright green pesto made with green pistachios and spicy arugula mixed with cavatappi and sun gold tomatoes.


  • 1/2 cup shelled green pistachios
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 wedge Parmesan cheese, rind removed, cut into chunks (about 1/2 pound)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed, skin removed
  • 3 - 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound dried cavatappi You could also use any other small pasta shape. Spaghetti would work too.
  • 1 pint sun gold tomatoes, rinsed and halved


  • Toast the pistachios in a small skillet with a pinch of salt until fragrant and slightly toasted-looking. Don't scorch. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with salt (it should taste like good broth, but not the ocean).
  • In bowl of a food processor, grind the Parmesan until finely ground. Set aside.
  • Now add most of the cooled toasted pistachios (save a tablespoon to chop and put on top of the finished dish). Add the garlic and pulse together with the pistachios and a pinch of salt until coarsely ground.
  • Add all of the arugula, another pinch of salt, and turn the machine on. As it grinds the arugula, slowly pour the olive oil in through the tube. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Keep going until the pesto looks emulsified but still roughly textured.
  • Stir in a big handful of the Parmesan and taste. Adjust for salt and more Parmesan. (You could add lemon juice here, just don't tell Carla Lalli Music.)
  • Drop your cavatappi in the big pot of boiling water and cook just until cooked through; taste to know. You want it al dente.
  • Using a spider tool, lift the pasta into a large metal bowl. (You want some of that pasta water to help the pesto stick.) Add big spoonfuls of the pesto and stir all around until everything looks coasted and glossy. I think it's better to use more than less here, but that's just me.
  • Add a handful of Parmesan, the tomatoes, some extra arugula that you forgot to add to the food processor, and continue stirring all around. Keep tasting and adjusting.
  • To serve: lift the the pasta into bowls and top with more Parmesan and some of the chopped pistachios I told you to conserve earlier.