Pesto alla Trapanese

There are numerous variations on pesto today, such as garlic scape and cilantro-packed pesto, but there’s also a lesser-known ancient take on pesto: pesto alla Trapanese. The sauce is made with garlic, salt, cheese, herbs, olive oil, vinegar and almonds. 


Note: If tomatoes are in season, replace the canned and sun-dried tomatoes with 1 1/2 cup garden-fresh tomatoes.


  • 1 cup almonds, blanched
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 can (28 oz.) chopped whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F. 

Step 2: Place 1 cup almonds on a baking sheet and toast until slightly brown, about 10 minutes

Step 3: Place the toasted almonds in a food processor along with 2 cloves garlic, 28 ounces canned tomatoes, 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup olive oil. Add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Pulse about 10 times until the mixture is ground (but not puréed).

Step 4: To serve, toss the pesto with freshly cooked al dente pasta of your choice. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprig of basil.

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