Pesto Trapanese

By Emiko
July 14, 2014
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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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