With the mercury rising, especially here in California, I naturally turn to lighter meals. During the week, I often need to throw dinner together quickly, using ingredients on hand. Whipping up a batch of pesto trapanese takes all of a few minutes. Packed full of flavor, the recipe calls for a limited number of ingredients, many of which I can pluck straight from the garden. Light, fresh, and delicious, serve this pesto coated over your favorite pasta.
I originally tasted this Sicilian speciality on a trip to Italy, and immediately searched out the recipe when I returned home. I finally settled on one from Lidia Bastianich,which I have adapted to suit my own taste. For example, the traditional pesto trapanese recipe does not include cheese in the mix but I have added some here. You are also supposed to squeeze out the tomato seeds and peel the almonds before roasting – but it wouldn’t be a quick dinner then would it?
Pesto Trapanese Recipe
Makes enough pesto for around 4-6 servings of pasta.
- 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
- ½ cup almonds- lightly roasted under the broiler
- 1 cup of fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic (1 if you are not a heavy garlic fan)
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan plus more for serving
- ½ cup good quality olive oil
- salt to taste and for pasta water
- your favorite pasta
1. Place tomatoes, roasted almonds, basil, garlic, and grated parmesan in a food processor.
2. Blend to a fine puree.
3. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until you get a nice, smooth pesto.
4. Season with salt and let stand.
5. In the meantime, cook your pasta to al dente. Reserve a bit of pasta water.
6. Drain pasta briefly then quickly add to pesto and toss to coat. Enjoy the aroma of summer- fresh tomato, basil, and garlic – wafting up to your nose. If the pasta starts to get too gloopy, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to thin.
7. Serve immediately with parmesan sprinkled over top.
For a twist and a deeper tomato flavor, you could try roasting the tomatoes first.