More Pasta

Pesto alla Trapanese (Sicilian)

Pesto alla Trapanese (Sicilian)

Print This Page Print This Page
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup slivered almonds
6 plum tomatoes, fresh in summer and canned in winter (Why?)
1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb fresh tagliatelle
1 cup caciocavallo or southern Italian pecorino cheese, finely grated

Heat water to boil for the pasta.

In a small sauté pan, toast the almond slivers over medium-low heat, watching carefully that they don’t burn. Set aside to cool.

Wash and dry the basil in a salad spinner. Grate the cheese and divide into two equal piles (1/2 cup each).

In a food processor, combine the almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Pulse to combine for 15 seconds. Wipe down sides with a spatula. With the motor running, add the olive oil slowly, about 15 seconds.


When the water is boiling, add two small handfuls of coarse sea salt and stir to dissolve. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, leaving 1/4 cup of water in the pan. Return the drained pasta to the pan and add the pesto and 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir to combine.

Divide the pasta among plates, garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Cook’s notes:

  • I like fresh pasta in this recipe because it soaks up the sauce so much more than dried, but if it is not available in your area, I recommend Martelli spaghetti.
  • I could not find caciocavallo, but my local cheese shop had a pecorino from Puglia that had nut and subtle banana flavors. Feel free to use Parmesan if you can’t find any of these. (As long as it doesn’t come pre-grated in that plastic green bottle! Freshly grated, by you, from a chunk of the real thing, please). Like I always say, half your work is done when you use the right ingredients; the other half is simply you introducing them to each other.
let there be bite twitter let there be bite facebook let there be bite youtube