Pistachio give-and-go pesto combo

Other words or phrases that rhyme with pistachio: dough, banjo, big toe, sloppy joe, quid pro quo, water buffalo, Microsoft Visual Studio.

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Read Time: 6 minutes

What is this sandwich?

The title of this blog post is nonsensical but the concept for this sandwich came from the fact that I was planning to take a short vacation and I needed to create a simple sandwich to document with photos and video with limited time. My initial thoughts started with Mortadella because I was recently reminded of a video about one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite sandwiches. From Mortadella I started thinking about pistachios.

My household includes big pistachio fans, and we often have some in the pantry for snacks. Cashews are my number one nut, but pistachios are a close second. Pistachios and cashews are also among the healthier nut options that are supposed to help boost heart health and other things that you can learn about elsewhere. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m just a sandwich guy.

Pistachios aren’t pretty and pistachios are expensive, but pistachios are also really tasty.

This sandwich turns a pistachio sauce into the main event that is paired with creamy cheese, more chopped pistachios, and some Italian Bologna tossed in just for fun.

My original idea was to sear and crisp up the Mortadella, make a pistachio pesto, and use mozzarella as the cheese/creamy ingredient. On the morning that I was buying the ingredients—after I had started the dough for some simple buns—I was doing some “mortadella + pistachio” googling and I learned about All’Antico Vinaio and the Mortadella sandwich they make.

I made a video/reel of the making of this sandwich that you can watch on Instagram.

What is All’Antico Vinaio?

All’Antico Vinaio started as a sandwich counter with a small wine bar in Florence, Italy in 1989. The name All’Antico Vinaio translates roughly to “at the ancient vintner” with the word “vintner” meaning a person who makes or sells wine. So, their original goal seems to have been a wine bar focused on older/aged wines with a few sandwich options as well.

Along the way, All’Antico Vinaio has become very popular for its sandwiches and has expanded into a chain of restaurants that have spread to large cities like Las Vegas and New York City.

Just a heads up, the bread I used is nothing at all like the bread that All’Antico Vinaio uses because I didn’t really start with the plan to make that exact sandwich. Maybe one day I will create a more copycat version, but for now, I chose buns because buns are awesome.

Screenshot from an All’Antico Vinaio menu showing their Mortadella and pistachio sandwich.

Another Mortadella and pistachio idea

While I was working on this sandwich blog post after having already eaten the sandwich you’re currently reading about I got a marketing email from King Arthur Baking about their “Bake of the Week” which turned out to be a Mortadella pizza sandwich. The bakers/chefs at King Arthur created a recipe for a sandwich that consisted of making a circular flatbread, baking it while it is folded over, removing it from the oven, opening the folded part, and stuffing it with Mortadella, burrata cheese, lemon zest, and pistachios.

If you’ve been following along with me like a good sandwich enthusiast, you would know that I have made two different folded-over flatbread pizza sandwiches but I never tried the technique that King Arthur’s team uses. I am a bit inspired to use their method at some point soon though so look out for that.

You should watch their Mortadella pizza sandwich video or go straight to their recipe because it looks very tasty.

Let’s get started on my pistachio-focused sandwich by baking some buns.

Soft and toasted buns

I make a lot of different buns which should surprise almost no one since this blog is called Bounded by Buns after all. This is the most simple sandwich bun recipe that I have shared in that there are no special ingredients, but after the initial dough is made the rest of the process is pretty similar to the other buns that I make.

I shared a video a year or so ago of this recipe that you can watch and use for examples of how this recipe works. It’s just a simple recipe with just a handful of ingredients that is meant for beginners to bake.

I have more advanced bun recipes, but this one is a great suggestion for beginning bakers.

Give it a shot and let me know how they turn out.

This recipe makes six reasonably sized burger buns.
Once shaped, the buns rest and experience a final rise before getting baked.
I gave these buns a light egg wash before baking which leads to their shiny and brown exterior.
Most of the time, when I make buns like this, I will baste them with melted butter after they are removed from the oven. This batch I left unbuttered which helped them keep their shiny crust.

Here’s my recipe for these simple buns that are great for your next burger night.

2 hours and 45 minutes
Simple soft hamburger buns

With only six ingredients, this is the most simple, soft bun recipe I could create. Perfect for your next burger night or grilled chicken sandwich.

Get Recipe

Italian bologna Mortadella

Mortadella (Wikipedia: Mortadella) is a sausage with its origin in Italy, presented as sliced deli meat that is made from ground pork with a good percentage of cubed pork fat, black pepper, and sometimes pistachios. The sausage originated in Bologna which is a city in Northern Italy.

Much like Champagne, “Mortadella Bologna” has its own protected geographical indication (PGI) that encompasses several regions of Northern and Western Italy. This might at first appear that it’s impossible to find Mortadella that is made and sold outside of Italy, but that is not true, because the restrictions and protections are on “Mortadella Bologna” and not just Mortadella.

A handful of Mortadella slices. You can see the pistachio and chunks of fat in each slice.

For example, I bought Boar’s Head Mortadella to use in this sandwich but Boar’s Head (based in Sarasota, Florida, USA) could not name their product Mortadella Bologna. This probably works out just fine for most Mortadella producers in North America because the name Bologna has a bit of an inferior connotation these days.

If you’re like me, you grew up eating bologna which gets its name from the town and region where Mortadella was originally named. If you know what bologna tastes like, you’ll definitely find some similarities in the flavors of Mortadella.

Pistachio pesto

You can make a version of pesto from almost any firm nut and green herb. I said “almost any” because I don’t want you going out and making a marijuana and Brazil nut pesto, even though I can’t control what you do. Just be sensible in your pesto processing.

I chose to use basil leaves and pistachios for this pesto, but a traditional pesto uses basil and pine nuts. You can make pesto in a mortar and pestle and some say it should only be made that way, but I typically go the lazier route and use a food processor. Plus, I’d have to scale down my base recipe because my mortar isn’t quite big enough for this batch.

Since pesto is an uncooked sauce, it can be whipped up in just a few minutes in a food processor and only a tiny bit longer if you prefer to pound yours with a mortar and pestle.

I usually make pesto in a food processor but respect for those who don’t.
Pesto packs a big flavor addition to a sandwich. It’s well worth learning to make your own.
How many photos of pesto on a spoon do you have on your phone?

Here’s my pistachio pesto recipe. I also have a walnut pesto recipe if you’d prefer another nut option.

Recipe Card
10 minutes
Pistachio pesto

Pistachios add great flavor and texture to this savory pesto. One key to a good pesto is adding the oil slowly to help create the proper emulsified consistency.

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Burrata cheese or stracciatella

Stracciatella is a fancy Italian word that means shred or “little shred.” According to the Wikipedia page for stracciatella, it refers to cheese that is from fresh white curds mixed with cream. This is also the basis or foundation for burrata.

If you read the fine print, you can see that inside burrata is shreds of mozzarella soaked in cream. That’s stracciatella.
Burrata at first appears like a ball of fresh mozzarella.
When you bust open the burrata it contains what at first looks like cottage cheese, but actually they are more like strands of mozzarella.

You can make your own stracciatella if you wanted to, but if you can find burrata, it’s way easier to just buy it. If you can’t find burrata, this sandwich would work great with pieces or slices of fresh mozzarella as well.

Sandwich build process

I’ve added some photos of the build process I used for this sandwich. As you can see it’s an extremely simple sandwich to put together. Don’t forget the chopped pistachios.

Lightly toast the buns.
Pistachio pesto spread on the bottom.
Followed by a layer of stracciatella.
A sprinkling of chopped pistachios (the most important part).
Cover everything with a few slices of Mortadella.
And more chopped pistachios if you’re feeling fancy.
Then add the bun top as a hat to complete the sandwich.

Sandwich recipe

The stracciatella will blend in with the pesto to make it extra creamy.
The chopped pistachios are really fun additions to the texture of this sandwich combination.
This sandwich gives a great cross-section.
Not including bun baking and food processor cleaning time, this sandwich took about 20 minutes to put together from start to finish.
Pistachio pesto and mortadella sandwich view printable page for this recipe

The creamy, bright, and garlicky flavors of pesto are enhanced by the texture of chopped pistachios and rich Mortadella in this pistachio-focused sandwich.


Pistachio pesto
  • 3 to 4 ounces fresh basil (about 2 cups)
  • 13 cup chopped pistachios
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 12 teaspoon salt (if your pistachios are unsalted, you can increase this a little)
  • 23 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 13 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • black pepper to taste
Sandwich assembly
  • 1 sandwich bun, split and toasted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pistachio pesto (from above)
  • 1 ball of burrata (or fresh mozzarella)
  • a handful of chopped pistachios
  • 3 to 5 slices of Mortadella


Pistachio pesto: add basil, pistachios, garlic cloves, and salt to a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine.

When things are chopped well, start slowly adding your olive oil while the processor/blender is running on low. This starts to form an emulsion and gives you the consistency you would want. 

When the pesto is smooth and has a thickened consistency, remove it from the processor/blender to a bowl add parmesan cheese, and stir.

Taste the fully combined pesto and add any additional salt and pepper that you think it might need. Store in the fridge for a few days. 

Sandwich assembly: break the ball of burrata in half over a medium-sized bowl and put all the interior cheese and liquid into the bowl. The strands of cheese inside of a burrata are called stracciatella. Note: If you are using mozzarella instead of burrata, slice 2 or 3 slices per sandwich.

Toast both sides of the sandwich bun if desired. Spread pesto on the bottom roll. 

Top the pesto with strings of stracciatella or mozzarella slices and then sprinkle a tablespoon or two of chopped pistachios on top.

Layer Mortadella slices on top of the cheese. Try to fold each slice over instead of just laying them on top of each other. This creates a bit of a thicker layer of meat for each bite. Sprinkle more chopped pistachios if you want at this point and then place the top of the bun to close the sandwich.

Check back next week

Next week I will be hunting for Dave Thomas’ ghost and challenging it to a duel. Hopefully, I bought enough bacon!

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