My travel companions and I had finally made it three quarters of the way around Sardinia, having started in Alghero on the northwest and choosing a counterclockwise route around the island. Our two-week trip would end on the north in Costa Smeralda but we had one more stop before reaching the high-end resort town. Cala Gonone sits almost directly east of the island; much smaller scale than its northern neighbor, the area is popular for its unspoiled coves and translucent beaches–most of them can only be reached by boat (or a hike). Many would argue that Cala Gonone has some of the best beaches in Sardinia but other attractions caught my attention. It was here that my husband fell in love with salt-baked whole fish (my recipe here) and I with pistachio gelato.
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy lots of gelato in Italy over the last decade and I can confidently say that they’re not all created equal. Pistachio gelato being my favorite it is my benchmark flavor for judging gelaterias that I come across. So far, my favorite pistachio gelati have come from Florence and Cala Gonone.
I’ve long wanted to try making gelato at home but I knew I’d have to find the right recipe and the right pistachio base. Enter the pistachio paste from my previous post. As much as I would have loved to use Sicilian pistachio paste (Bronte pistachios are said to be more flavorful) this recipe from Pierre Hermé worked in a pinch. It was wonderful on its own and I can see using it in other desserts but my first batch was intended specifically for gelato.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to search far and wide for a good recipe either. David Lebovitz has shared his favorite pistachio gelato recipe using Sicilian pistachio paste. I followed his recipe exactly with the exception of using my homemade paste. I have also always been intrigued by the use of a corn flour base instead of eggs and according to Mr. Lebovitz, the former is common way to prepare gelato in southern Italy.
The verdict? This gelato is rich in pistachio flavor. It’s buttery, too. Maybe my homemade paste is more concentrated than the Sicilian version but I loved that the pistachios are the dominant flavor rather than the milk or sugar. Since my pistachio paste was a bit chunkier, it added a nice second layer of pistachio flavor that I really enjoyed.
My search for a good pistachio gelato recipe was short and sweet. If you like it as much as I do, head on over to Mr. Lebovitz’s site for his recipe. If you have access to Sicilian pistachio paste, I can’t imagine a better use for it than in this gelato but if you don’t, try this very easy recipe.
Note: If you try the homemade paste, you might consider using a bit less of it in Mr. Lebovitz’s recipe if you want a more subtle pistachio flavor. 5 ounces might be enough.