This pesto recipe comes from Trapani, a city in Northwest Sicily about 100km away from Palermo. The varieties of pesto in Italy are endless. When most Americans think “pesto”, they think of the classic green Genovese style pesto made with pine nuts and lots of basil. However, pesto styles vary all around Italy, based on what is local and fresh. I particularly love this Trapanese style pesto because of the balance of acidic cherry tomatoes and the roasted, nutty flavor of almonds.
Serving Ideas: Eat with al dente pasta topped with shaved parmesan and cracked black pepper or spread on toasted bread with a drizzle of nice extra virgin olive oil and garnish with blistered tomatoes and torn basil. This pesto goes extremely well with a dry rosé or light red wine from the Mt. Etna region of Sicily (Northeast Sicily), particularly so because the mineral-forward, earthy wines from the rich soils near Mt. Etna pair wonderfully with the earthy almond flavor and the astringent tomato skins.
1 1/2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
1/4 cup Almonds, Roasted
1 cup Pecorino Cheese
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1 Clove of Garlic, whole
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)
Wash the tomatoes and basil, then place in a food processor. Add in the almonds, cheese, olive oil, salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Pulse all the ingredients together in the food processor, scraping down the bowl half-way through. Puree until smooth, while still leaving the elements for visible piece integrity. Season with cracked black pepper and more salt if necessary. Buon appetito!
Original recipe courtesy of Eloro District