Pesto alla Trapanese is an amazing dish that comes together in minutes. It is the Sicilian variation to traditional Genovese pesto. It has similar ingredients but swaps almonds for Pignoli nuts with the addition of tomatoes.
This dish can be served hot or at room temp. So it is great for entertaining. It can be made in advance and it actually gets better the longer it sits.
Rigatoni Pesto alla Trapanese
1/4 Cups of Blanched Whole Almonds
3 Cups Cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
2 Garlic Cloves – Whole
½ Cup, plus 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Please make sure it is high quality.
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
¼ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ tsp. Salt
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
¼ Cup Grated Pecorino Romano
2 lb. Pasta of your choice- I used Rigatoni
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add 2 cups of the tomatoes and cook for about three minutes. They will float to the top. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and let cool.
In a small frying pan saute the garlic on a low flame until cooked through. Remove from heat and let it cool.
In another small frying pan on a low to medium heat, toast the almonds until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from heat.
In a food processor add the cooked tomatoes, almonds, garlic and oil, black pepper, salt, basil and blend well. Add the Pecorino and pulse a few more times until well incorporated.
In a pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the last cup of the tomatoes and cook. The tomatoes will start to get soft. Using the side of a wooden spoon start break the tomatoes apart
In the meantime, boil the pasta and save some of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the cooked tomatoes. Then add in the Trapanese pesto and gradually pour in some of the pasta water until desired consistency is achieved. Serve topped with more grated Pecorino. This is great served at room temperature as well.