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Pesto alla Trapanese (Sicilian)

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup slivered almonds
6 plum tomatoes, fresh in summer and canned in winter (Why? [1])
1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt [2]
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil [3]
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.

pesto-trapanese-ingredients

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: