Carmelita Caruana pays homage to the flavors of Sicily with her exceptional vegetarian summer pasta, Pasta con il pesto alla Trapanese. This extraordinary dish is a juicy combination of tomato and almond pesto, a true culinary delight. The vibrant sweetness of the tomato harmonizes effortlessly with the nutty richness of the almonds, creating a symphony of flavors that will enchant your taste buds.
Experience the essence of the Mediterranean as you savor every delicious bite. Treat yourself to this tempting pasta creation that embodies the warmth and freshness of the summer season. Elevate your dining experience with this Sicilian-inspired masterpiece, a true masterpiece that transports you straight to the sunny shores of Italy.
- 50 g peeled, unpeeled almonds
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6 vine tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino cheese
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 400 g Fusilli Lunghi or other pasta spirals
- Cover the almonds with boiling water for a few minutes to loosen their shells. Then peel them off with your fingers when they are cool enough to touch. Don’t skimp and use ready-blanched almonds, as nuts quickly lose their taste without their protective shell. Toast the almonds in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until light golden.
- Mix the basil, garlic and a little coarse sea salt in a food processor and place in a large bowl. Process the almonds, again with a little salt, using the pulse button until they are the size of small grains of rice.
- Peel the tomatoes, de-seed them by cutting them in half and squeezing them over the sink, then cut them into medium-sized cubes. Mix the tomatoes and almonds with the basil and garlic, add the grated cheese and olive oil and mix well. Taste and season with pepper and – if necessary – a little salt.
- Cook the pasta as usual, making sure to keep it as al dente as possible, especially if you plan to serve it cold. Sicilians are probably the pickiest of all Italians when it comes to pasta, and they are quick to refer to it as “scotta,” which means “overcooked.” To judge when to drain the pasta, cut open a piece of pasta: If there is a small, uncooked white spot in the center, drain it. It is perfectly cooked by the time it is served.
- Drain the pasta, but reserve a few ladles of the pasta water. Put the pasta with the pesto in the bowl and mix carefully but quickly so that the melting cheese is well distributed. If necessary, add a little pasta water so the sauce lightly coats each pasta corkscrew. The pasta can now be served lukewarm or at room temperature, but do not refrigerate as this will dull the intoxicating flavors that make this dish so enjoyable.
Equipment and tools
Note: Make sure you have the following equipment and tools ready before starting the recipe:
- Food processor or blender
- cutting board
- Large pot for cooking pasta
This recipe for Pasta with pesto alla Trapanese contains the following potential allergens:
- Pecorino cheese
Please be aware of these allergens if you or your guests have allergies or dietary restrictions.
Storage and leftovers
Store leftover Pasta con il pesto alla Trapanese in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 3 days.
Health Benefits of Pasta with Pesto alla Trapanese (Tomato Almond Pesto)
Pasta con il pesto alla Trapanese, also known as tomato and almond pesto, is a traditional Sicilian dish that combines the vibrant flavor of ripe tomatoes with the crunchy texture of almonds. This recipe is not only delicious but also offers several health benefits. Let’s explore the nutritional benefits of each ingredient:
Almonds are a rich source of healthy fats, proteins and fiber. Consuming almonds has been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and better weight control. In addition, almonds are rich in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and protects your cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
2. Fresh basil leaves
Basil is popularly known for its aromatic scent and distinctive taste. This herb is not only used to enhance the flavor of dishes, but also offers potential health benefits. It contains essential oils, including eugenol, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Basil also contains vitamins A, K and C as well as minerals such as calcium and iron.
Garlic not only adds a strong flavor to recipes, but is also known for its health-promoting properties. It contains a compound called allicin, which has been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Garlic has also been linked to lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
4. Ripe tomatoes
Vine tomatoes are a delicious and nutritious addition to this pasta dish. They are packed with important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium and folic acid. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Eating tomatoes can also support heart health and promote healthy skin.
5. Pecorino cheese
Pecorino cheese is an Italian hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. Although it is high in fat and calories, it also provides several important nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B12. Calcium is crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth, while phosphorus supports energy metabolism. Vitamin B12 plays a role in red blood cell formation and neurological function.
6. Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and is known for its health benefits. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, which, when consumed in moderation, can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Olive oil is also full of antioxidants that protect against inflammation and oxidative stress. Additionally, it is associated with improving blood sugar control and promoting brain health.
In summary, the Pasta con il pesto alla Trapanese (Tomato Almond Pesto) not only satisfies your taste buds but also provides your body with essential nutrients. From the heart-healthy fats in almonds and olive oil to antioxidant-rich tomatoes and basil, this dish offers a delicious combination of flavors and health benefits.