Spaghetti al Pesto Trapanese (Spaghetti with Tomato Almond Pesto)
Adapted from Lidia's Italy
Pesto Trapanese is a pesto that originates in Sicily. Its main ingredients are cherry tomatoes and almonds with only a small amount of basil. I tried this pesto for the first time while dining at Mario Batali's Pasta and Pizza Bar located in Eataly (his Italian superstore located in the Flatiron District of New York City). I loved this dish and I couldn't wait to try the recipe at home. This was my first attempt at making this pesto and it was delicious. This recipe is very easy and straightforward. If you need to make dinner in a hurry, this is the recipe for you.
- 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
- 12 leaves fresh basil
- 1/3 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
Step 1: Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat dry.
Step 2: Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl followed by the garlic clove, the almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine purée; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.
Step 3: With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the purée into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. Leave the pesto at room temperature if you plan on dressing the pasta within 2 hours. Otherwise, for longer storage, refrigerate up to 2 days. If refrigerated, let the pesto return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.
Step 4: To cook the spaghetti, heat 6 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon salt to the boil in the large pot. Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl.
Step 5: Cook the spaghetti al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over, and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.