Travel Tastes

Pesto Pasta with a Twist (recipe included)

I was unexpectedly wowed by the food at Mason Dixon Distillery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. With the tag line “Taste the Legacy” for the spirits, I figured those would be good, but the food was a pleasant surprise. The menu goes above and beyond typical pub grub. They serve up elevated comfort food from deviled eggs and poutine to skewerless skewers to a classic burger. The distillery and restaurant are in a restored century-old factory with restored brick walls and original wood beams. The seating is like what you would find in a German beer hall.

As our hungry group of six settled in to order, I zeroed in on the pesto pasta. It’s simple ingredients: pesto, grape tomatoes, peas, spinach, and pasta topped with parmesan cheese. It paired beautifully with the vodka cranberry cocktail I ordered.

After a couple of bites, I asked owner Yianni Barakos if I could get the recipe to share and chef Cameron Matney kindly obliged. While the farfalline pasta (curly pasta) is boiling, sauté the veggies of grape tomatoes, peas and spinach in olive oil for about two minutes. Add 2-3 tablespoons of pesto per 8-10 ounces of pasta. You can add protein like chicken or shrimp if you like. Top with shredded parmesan cheese.

The secret ingredient is in the pesto. It’s pistachios instead of the traditional pine nuts or even walnuts or almonds. The pistachios add a nutty buttery flavor that’s fabulous. I asked Cameron if he would please email me the recipe, which he did that day. Make this pesto pasta and I guarantee your family or guests will ask, “What’s in this pesto?” after oohs and mmms from their first bites.

Mason Dixon Distillery’s Pesto Recipe

2T lemon juice 
4 oz basil 
4 oz spinach
1/3 c pistachios 
2T garlic
3 oz olive oil
1/2 T salt
1 t pepper

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor. Slowly drizzle the oil while the blender or food processor is on to emulsify the pesto. 

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