If you love green pesto, you are going to love this Pesto alla Trapanese with tomatoes, almonds, garlic, basil and Parmesan cheese. This is an effortless Sicilian recipe to season pasta dishes (traditionally, busiate pasta is used). You can also use this pesto on bread or “bruschetta”, on salads, on couscous or farro.
I recently came back from a beautiful summer holiday in Sicily with my husband. We spent a few days in Palermo (my dad’s hometown) then drove around the north-west of the island to visit ancient Greek sites (Segesta and Selinunte), the salt farms of Marsala and Trapani, the rocky beaches of Favignana and Zingaro Natural Reserve and the historic town of Erice. We visited stunning sites, spent eight days in the sun and filled our bellies with delicious Sicilian food!
A popular pasta dish of the Trapani region is Pesto alla Trapanese, typically used to season busiate pasta. What are busiate?
Busiate is a type of egg-less pasta made from durum wheat and twisted in a similar way to fusilli. I had never seen it before as you can’t find it in shops outside of Sicily. I’m glad I brought a packet back to London so I could make this dish for lunch last week!
Pesto alla Trapanese is a variation of the famous Pesto alla Genovese, ie. the usual kind you find in supermarkets anywhere made with basil and pine nuts. It is made with tomato sauce, almonds, basil and lots of garlic. I love it, it’s very easy to make and turns your pasta into a delicious and effortless dish!
I paired the this pasta with Pesto alla Trapanese with a glass of Vinas del Vero Gewurztraminer, which I received from wine company Gonzalez Byass UK together with a bottle of their Vilarnau Brut Cava. The Spanish Gewurztraminer is an intense and floral white wine, full of aromas, perfect to go with a summer dish.
Makes 1 small jar (380ml) of Pesto alla Trapanese. This serves around 8-10 people when used to season pasta.
- 160-200g pasta (any shape you like!)
- 200g juicy cherry tomatoes, blanched and peeled
- 70g blanched almonds
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
- 20-25 leaves of fresh basil
- 40-50g Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 heaped tbsp rock salt (to cook the pasta)
Prepare the Pesto alla Trapanese using a food processor (or a mortar and pestle if you have one). Combine the garlic, almonds, cheese, tomatoes and olive oil. Blitz the ingredients together in short pulses until you obtain a paste.
Heat 1 liter of water on the stove, when it starts to boil add the rock salt. When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Lower the heat and let the water simmer for 10-11 minutes (check the exact cooking time of your chosen pasta on the packet).
Drain the pasta when it is “al dente”. Pour it back into the saucepan and add a few tablespoons of pesto. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
You can store the Pesto alla Trapanese in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also freeze it for longer.