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A Sicilian spin on Ligurian pesto that adds almonds and tomatoes to the basil
Milk Street Bowtie Trapanese Pesto

Trapanese Pesto

30 minutes

Trapanese Pesto

Free

Fresh tomatoes and toasted almonds set this Sicilian sauce apart from the better-known Genovese-style pesto. Cherry tomatoes provided the best flavor and flesh-to-juice ratio, but grape or small plum tomatoes worked, too. And while we preferred blanched, slivered almonds, which were easiest to toast and grind, any variety is fine. Use a wand-style grater for the pecorino.

4 ounces whole, skin-on almonds (about 1 cup), toasted
1 pound grape tomatoes
1 ounce fresh basil leaves (1 cup lightly packed)
1 small garlic clove, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces short, sturdy pasta, such as rigatoni or gemelli
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 ounce grated pecorino cheese (½ cup), plus more to serve
Ingredients
  • 4

    ounces whole, skin-on almonds (about 1 cup), toasted

  • 1

    pound grape tomatoes

  • 1

    ounce fresh basil leaves (1 cup lightly packed)

  • 1

    small garlic clove, grated

  • ¼

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • ½
  • 12

    ounces short, sturdy pasta, such as rigatoni or gemelli

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    ounce grated pecorino cheese (½ cup), plus more to serve

Sicilian Pesto in 30 Minutes

Milk Street Recipes

Sicilian Pesto in 30 Minutes

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Trapanese Pesto

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

30 minutes

Tip

Don’t add the cooking water to the sauce right away. While we always reserve some starchy cooking water before draining pasta, we didn’t always need it for this sauce, which gets ample moisture from the tomatoes.

Ingredients
  • 4

    ounces whole, skin-on almonds (about 1 cup), toasted

  • 1

    pound grape tomatoes

  • 1

    ounce fresh basil leaves (1 cup lightly packed)

  • 1

    small garlic clove, grated

  • ¼

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • ½
  • 12

    ounces short, sturdy pasta, such as rigatoni or gemelli

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    ounce grated pecorino cheese (½ cup), plus more to serve

Sicilian Pesto in 30 Minutes

Milk Street Recipes

Sicilian Pesto in 30 Minutes

Step 1 of 2

Boil water and make the pasta sauce

4
ounces whole, skin-on almonds (about 1 cup), toasted
1
pound grape tomatoes
1
ounce fresh basil leaves (1 cup lightly packed)
1
small garlic clove, grated
¼
teaspoon red pepper flakes
½
cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the almonds until coarsely chopped. Transfer the nuts to a bowl.


To the processor, add the tomatoes, basil, garlic and pepper flakes, then pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and pulse until incorporated, about 5 pulses. Transfer to a large bowl.

Step 2 of 2

Cook the pasta, season and serve

12
ounces short, sturdy pasta, such as rigatoni or gemelli
¾
teaspoon kosher salt
¾
teaspoon ground black pepper
1
ounce grated pecorino cheese (½ cup), plus more to serve

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper with the tomato mixture. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved cooking water. Stir in the reserved nuts and the cheese. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

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Trapanese Pesto

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