Pesto. Best eaten in Summer….Winter, Fall, and Spring (I wish it was a year round dish)! There’s something about the fresh, grassy, nutty, flavor that Pesto gives that it remains to be my favorite Italian sauce! Having Sicilian Pesto, which incorporates summer’s star fruit (or if you’re one of those that insists that a tomato is a vegetable… I’ll digress for now) the ripe, juicy, tomato! Keep reading to find out how the Sicilians added their own twist to the traditional Genovese Pesto and created their own Sicilian Pesto Recipe!
History of Sicilian Pesto
No one quite knows the true history of Pesto. However, thanks to the Appendix Vergiliana, an ancient collection of poems, we are sure that Ancient Romans used to eat a very similar version of today’s Pesto called Moretum. It’s made by crushing garlic, salt, cheese, herbs, olive oil and vinegar together.
Sicilian Pesto or Pesto alla trapanese, takes its star ingredients, the fresh, ripe, juicy, tomato and almonds and replaces the abundance of basil and pine nuts.The traditional recipe for pesto alla trapanese uses a mortar and pestle, producing a rustic appearance to the Pesto as opposed to the creamy, paste – like mixture we’ve come to know.
Many traditional recipes will warn you to never, ever use a blender or food processor to make pesto alla trapanese. Instead, you should grind up the garlic with a bit of salt, then the almonds, then the basil, just as you would a traditional pesto alla genovese. The tomatoes should be cut into dices and then mixed in with the Pesto.
This method gives the Pesto a much different texture where the tomato retains more of its original character and the Pesto has considerably more chunkiness to it. Once the Pesto is combined with the pasta, the plate screams: Italy! With its contrasting red and green bits against the backdrop of pasta, basically resembling an Italian flag. Nothing prevents you, of course, from mixing modern and traditional methods by making your pesto with a food processor but folding in hand-chopped tomatoes to it at the end.
- 100 grams of crushed almonds
- 600 grams of cherry tomatoes (100g per person)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch of basil
- olive oil (as much needed)
- salt (to taste)
- whole roasted almonds
1. Crush almonds using either a wooden pestle and marble mortar or blender. Add into a large mixing bowl.
2. Rinse and prepare tomatoes. With a sharp knife cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Add to the crushed almonds in the large mixing bowl.
3. Finely chop garlic and add it to the mixing bowl.
4. Rinse basil and tear into small pieces. Gently stir into the pesto sauce to finish!
5. In a medium sized skillet toast breadcrumbs, which will be added to the top of the pasta.
6. In a medium sized skillet, toast the almonds. They will also be served on top of the pasta.
7. Once you’ve cooked your pasta, add in the Pesto sauce, top with breadcrumbs and roasted almonds.
Traditionally Pesto is served with long, thin noodles, such as linguini or spaghetti,
If you enjoyed this post, check out our Classic Italian Meatball Recipe: Polpette di carne!