Pesto is best known for its vibrant green colour, but today’s pesto is one that comes from the opposite side of the country, a beautiful island off the south of Italy, called Sicilia.
Traditionally known as “agghiata trapanisa”, pesto alla trapanese is a historical Sicilian recipe. It’s one that has come about from a mix of cultures. The story goes that when Genoan ships would dock in the port of Trapani (in Siciliy), the sailors would get off the boats and boast about their green Genoan pesto. The Sicilians – not all that impressed with this “imported” pesto, decided to make their own – with typical ingredients from the island – hence the red colour and the addition of tomatoes and almonds.
Pesto alla trapanese is traditionally served with “busiati”, but any short pasta type will do. It’s a very delicate pesto, and goes well with cold pasta salads as well. I served this pesto with Pasta Garofalo‘s “mafalde”.
The stars of this pesto are tomatoes, almonds, capers and anchovies. Traditionally pesto is made with a mortar and pestle and its consistency is grainy. I tend to make batches of pesto and freeze it so I use a food processor. The trick when using a food processor is to freeze the chopping blade before hand and pulse the ingredients rather than keeping your finger on the button.
- 250g of mafalde [Pasta Garofalo]
- 250g of ripe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are ideal)
- 8 anchovies
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 30g of capers
- 50g of almonds
- 60ml of evoo
- 1-2tbsp of pasta water
- Firstly, blanch the cherry tomatoes and almonds for 2 minutes in a pot of boiling water, drain and once cooled - peel the skins away.
- Secondly, put a large pot of water on medium heat and bring to the boil.
- When boiling - add 2 tbsp of sea salt and add the mafalde to the pot. Cook according to packet instructions - Pasta Garofalo's mafalde cook in 11 minutes. Add the pasta and cook.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto.
- Add the tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, capers and almonds to the food processor. Start blitzing. Add the oil slowly whilst blitzing. Pulse until you have a relatively smooth texture.
- Before draining the pasta, hold back 1-2 tbsp of pasta water and mix through the pesto sauce.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pot, add the pesto and mix through.
- Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pasta Garofalo, however all opinions are my own.