Did you have a favorite ice cream flavor growing up? I always loved pistachio ice cream but I rarely got to have it because no one else in my family seemed to like it. So when we did have it at home, I would sit down with a big bowl of it and savor every spoonful. There was something about the emerald-green hue and deep nutty flavor that I loved. Of course, at that time I didn’t know that the emerald-green hue probably came from artificial coloring.
I received a copy of Williams Sonoma Rustic Italian by Domenica Marchetti. The book is full of mouth-watering Italian recipes and gorgeous photographs. Domenica has a way with words, and before you know it you’ve been seduced into making recipes like Zuppa Di Riso Selvatico (Wild Rice Soup with Porcini & Escarole) or Bucatini con Cipolle e Pancetta (Bucatini with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta). She includes wine suggestions for every recipe, which is great because this provides a great opportunity to discover different wines. There are also sections on Italian cheeses, salumi, and pantry staples.
Like I do with most cookbooks, I jumped right to the desserts section and found a recipe for pistachio ice cream. I’ve made pistachio ice cream several times, but this recipe had a little twist: shaved chocolate folded in at the end. I simply had to try it! I love the combination of pistachios with white chocolate so I substituted Callebaut white chocolate for the bittersweet chocolate called for in the recipe.
The result? A rich and creamy ice cream flavored with roasted pistachios, with toothsome bites of shaved chocolate. And just like I did growing up, I served myself a bowl and savored every single spoonful.
Gelato Al Pistacchio
Pistachio Ice Cream with Shaved Chocolate
Makes about 1 QT. Serves 6.
¾ cup unsalted roasted pistachio nuts
6 tablespoons whole milk, plus 1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped
Put the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the 6 tablespoons milk and process until a creamy paste forms, about 1 minute. Scrape the pistachio paste into a bowl.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1 ½ cups milk and the cream and warm until just at the point of simmering. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until thick and pale yellow. Slowly drizzle a ladleful of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Whisk in another ladleful of the hot milk mixture, then slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until a custard forms that lightly coats the back of the spoon, about 15 minutes.
Strain the hot custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl and let cool slightly, then whisk in the pistachio paste. Stir in the almond extract, if using. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Freeze the custard in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the custard has thickened in the machine, add the chocolate and continue to mix just until well blended. Spoon the gelato into a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Divide among dessert bowls to serve.
Recipe appears with permission from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian. Recipes by Domenica Marchetti. Copyright 2011 by Weldon Owen Inc. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc.