Sunday, February 16, 2014
Almond & tomato pesto
Not all pesto is green, you know.
This Pesto Trapanese, from the town of Trapani in Sicily, is adapted from the recipe in Giorgio Locatelli's "Made in Sicily." I was tasked with doing the pasta course for a dinner a few evenings ago, and this wound up being a pretty big hit.
It doesn't get much easier than this, either. All we're talking about is almonds, fresh tomatoes, garlic and mint (yes, mint, not basil). The only thing that's cooked is the pasta.
Lightly toast around 1/2 cup of almonds in a 350 degree F oven for several minutes, then chop.
Mix the chopped almonds with four garlic cloves and either pound together using a mortar and pestle or run through a food processor. I did a little of both here, and made sure not to make the mixture too fine. If you prefer things smoother, even completely smooth, that's okay too; just run it through the food processor longer.
In a mixing bowl place the almond/garlic mix, 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh mint (Locatelli's recipe calls for three times that amount of mint), around 1 pound of skinned and diced fresh tomatoes, and a good hit of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Incorporate all the ingredients and then stir in around 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to use a good quality oil. Since the pesto isn't cooked the flavor of the oil is important.
Mix the pesto with your pasta of choice (this is homemade fettuccine). And don't discard all of your (well-salted) pasta water, because you may need to add some of it to the pasta if it's a little too dry. After plating top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano and serve.
FOR MORE RECIPES: Click here for my Pasta Recipe Index; click here for the Vegetarian Recipe Index.