when we spent a weekend italy recently, on a vineyard together with friends, we also managed (because that's always my priority) to visit the market in ponte tresa, briefly. the "stuff" they sell there is negligible. but, oh, the food... mountains of italian cheeses - mozzarelle, burrate, scamorze, fontine, parmigiane, gorgonzole... - salumi on end and beautiful vegs, too. there are a couple of stalls that specialize in "dolci", too, and they're always the most breathtaking sight. brutti, cantuccini, amaretti... piled and stacked high on top of each other... i had to pull the breaks there and then, because i am well known for my cookie consumption (ahem). also, the car was already pretty much full.
at home, though, i regretted not having taken with me a couple of the sweets, anyway. i could have put it in my handbag, after all. so i made those pretty, green pistachio cookies, mere days later. the italian-ness is indisputable. and for all nut lovers, i'd even say it's a welcome change to your average almond or coconut thingie. they're super simple to make (only four ingredients) - and taking the simplicity into account it's definitely one of the best cookies i've ever made.
italian pistachio cookies
makes about 24
recipe adapted from here
90 g + 100 g pistachios (raw and shelled)
100 g almond meal
120 g sugar
2 egg whites
green food coloring, optional
confectioners' sugar for dusting
spread the pistachios on a sheet and roast for ten minutes at 160 c / 320 f. let cool, then chop the 90 grams very finely and the other 100 g just coarsely. in a bowl, combine the finely chopped pistachios with the almond meal, sugar and egg whites. if desired, tint with a drop of food coloring (for me, one drop was more than enough). add a little more almond meal if you feel like the mix isn't shapeable. shape into tiny balls and spread on a baking sheet (leaving space in between the cookies to allow for spreading). bake at 170 c / 340 f for about 13 minutes. let cool on a wire rack, then dust with confectioners' sugar. keep in an airtight container.