Pesto Alla Trapanese

Pesto Alla Trapanese

This Sicilian-inspired pesto is perfect for summer. It uses raw tomatoes and a fresh mixture of herbs. The sauce is traditionally made with all basil, but this combination of herbs provides a burst of flavor. And, it’s simple to make. When cooking for two, I half the pasta and seal and store the remaining sauce in the refrigerator for the next day. If not having pasta, it works great as leftovers with quinoa or a white fish.

  • ¼ cup blanched or raw almonds
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, preferably heirloom
  • 2 cups roughly chopped herbs*, 1/3 cup each of mint, parsley & basil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated fresh
  • 1 lb pasta, farfalle, strozzapreti or similar

Toast the almonds and put aside to cool.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add salt then add pasta and cook until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor, combine almonds, tomatoes, herbs, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 tsp salt and pulse gently until thoroughly combined. Pour olive oil in at a slow, steady stream while pulsing so the mixture begins to emulsify. Continue pulsing until all oil is combined and the sauce start to form a smooth paste. For aesthetic reasons, I prefer to stop pulsing while the pesto retains some color of the tomatoes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl then fold in the Pecorino Romano.

Add the pasta to the sauce or put the cooked, drained pasta into another large bowl and add desired amount of pesto. Toss pasta and sauce until all of the pasta is coated, adding up to a ¼ cup of pasta water if needed to break up the sauce. Place in serving bowls and garnish with herbs.

Serves 4-6.

 

Mains & Sides Recipe

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