Pesto Trapanese

Pesto Trapanese

Pesto Trapanese With the mercury rising, especially here in California, I naturally turn to lighter meals. During the week, I often need to throw dinner together quickly, using ingredients on hand. Whipping up a batch of pesto trapanese takes all of a few minutes. Packed full of flavor, the recipe calls for a limited number of ingredients, many of which I can pluck straight from the garden. Light, fresh, and delicious, serve this pesto coated over your favorite pasta.

I originally tasted this Sicilian speciality on a trip to Italy, and immediately searched out the recipe when I returned home. I finally settled on one from Lidia Bastianich,which I have adapted to suit my own taste. For example, the traditional pesto trapanese recipe does not include cheese in the mix but I have added some here. You are also supposed to squeeze out the tomato seeds and peel the almonds before roasting - but it wouldn't be a quick dinner then would it?

Pesto Trapanese Recipe

Makes enough pesto for around 4-6 servings of pasta.


  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup almonds- lightly roasted under the broiler
  • 1 cup of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic (1 if you are not a heavy garlic fan)
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan plus more for serving
  • ½ cup good quality olive oil
  • salt to taste and for pasta water
  • your favorite pasta


1. Place tomatoes, roasted almonds, basil, garlic, and grated parmesan in a food processor. 2. Blend to a fine puree. 3. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until you get a nice, smooth pesto. 4. Season with salt and let stand. 5. In the meantime, cook your pasta to al dente. Reserve a bit of pasta water. 6. Drain pasta briefly then quickly add to pesto and toss to coat. Enjoy the aroma of summer- fresh tomato, basil, and garlic - wafting up to your nose. If the pasta starts to get too gloopy, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to thin. 7. Serve immediately with parmesan sprinkled over top.

For a twist and a deeper tomato flavor, you could try roasting the tomatoes first.