Pistachio gelato is the benchmark by which many gelaterie are judged. You can tell at a glance if an artificial base has been used, just by the color. If the gelato maker is using real pistachio nuts, the color will be almost drab green. If the bin flashes a neon green, keep walking.
1 cup (6 ounces) shelled pistachios, lightly toasted (about 12 ounces in the shell)
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
In a food processor or coffee grinder, coarsely chop the pistachios, reserving a few whole ones for garnish. In a medium saucepan, combine the pistachios, milk, and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat, cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain the milk mixture through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing on the nuts with the back of a large spoon to get as much liquid from the nuts as possible. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 1 quart; serves 4.
Reprinted with permission from Gelato! Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti and Granite by Pamela Sheldon Johns. Photography by Joyce Oudkerk Pool and Pamela Sheldon Johns. © 2008. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA