Pesto Trapanese

By • July 14, 2014 • 9 Comments

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Author Notes: A fresh, summery Sicilian pesto with almonds and fresh tomatoes as the protagonists. This is only lightly adapted from a recipe from La Cucina Accademia Italiana.Emiko

Serves 4

  • 10 ripe plum tomatoes (San Marzano and Roma are best)
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) blanched almonds
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) dried breadcrumbs, optional (or Parmesan cheese, grated)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Score the underside of the tomatoes with a cross and blanch in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute. Peel off the skins then chop into quarters. Remove the seeds and then roughly chop the rest of the flesh. Set aside.
  2. Toast almonds in a moderate oven until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. In a mortar, grind the garlic, basil leaves, and a pinch of salt with a drizzle of olive oil until creamy. Add the almonds and continue grinding until fine and creamy (it will still be slightly grainy or chunky). Add the tomatoes; depending on your preferences, squash them gently or leave them slightly chunky. Add the rest of the olive oil in a drizzle until well combined and creamy. Taste for seasoning, then add salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. If desired, toast the breadcrumbs in a wide skillet with some olive oil until they're golden and serve this over the pasta in place of Parmesan cheese.
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Comments (9) Questions (1)


about 1 month ago Amedeo Marvelli

food processor is OK!!! mortar and pestle require a skll very few have. It is really a wondrful recipe and this time really authentic!


about 1 month ago Liz Baykina

Made this earlier tonight and it was wonderful. I made a few substitutions and it still turned out well. Used a tiny food processor due to lack of mortar and pestle, and used 3 vine ripened tomatoes due to the size of processor. Definitely enough for about 6 portions. I found that it was still nicely chunky, with crunchy almonds in every bite. I also ended up juicing a whole lemon into this because it seemed like it needed some acidity, and then grated some Parmesan before serving. I think the cheese really set it off. My favorite pesto!


2 months ago healthierkitchen

I made this last night and was unsure in advance how much pasta it would cover. 1/2 lb? This didn't seem like enough for 1 lb. Quite delicious though - I liked it better than prior versions I've made using slow roasted or jarred sun dried tomatoes!


2 months ago Emiko

In Italy, 80 grams of pasta per person per serve is considered just right. So because this is for 4 serves, this pesto recipe should be enough for 320 grams of pasta (or about 11 ounces or 3/4 pound). Thanks for the feedback!


about 1 month ago healthierkitchen

Yes, that sounds like it would have been the perfect amount! I had made the whole pound because teenage son home, but next time will go with about three quarters, or even half and have some left for vegetables! Thanks.


2 months ago Jo Switten

I suppose you could do that, but you would loose the chunkiness that gives this dish the right texture :) I made this dish several times and I just love the addition of the muddica :)


2 months ago KirstenS

Can I do this in a food processor?


2 months ago Emiko

You could do, but as Jo says, you will get a different result, a smoother sauce rather than a slightly chunky, thick, pesto! ;)


about 1 month ago tessga

I only have a very small mortar pestle for spices so i used my food processor pulse option, still was slightly chunky and thick, and super super good. I served on spaghetti squash, very complimentary.