Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pasta Trapanese | Sicilian style Pesto Pasta

I always thought that pesto is green in colour.So actually our chutney is Indian Pesto and we could definitely try chutney pasta ?!. And like there are different types of chutneys/ sauces there can be different pestos some with  different colours as well. I suppose anything pounded into a paste and seasoned accordingly to be used as a sauce/spread or dip can be called pesto. After all the word pesto came from Italian "Pestare" which means 'to pound' . 

The one I tried and loved is different  in colour and coming from Trapani in Sicily, Italy. Pesto Trapanese is slightly red in colour thanks to the presence or hint of tomatoes, and uses almonds instead of the traditional pine nuts. Here also there are several variations but the one I went for was Jamie Olivers recipe with addition of chilli flakes added to the pesto courtesy Lidia Bastianich. After all pesto is from Italy.

Pasta : for serving 2 atleast

Almonds: 4-5 tbsp
Garlic: 1 small clove
Fresh Basil: large handfuls
Fresh Parmesan Cheese: 2-4 tbsp as per taste
Tomatoes: 2-3 big tomatoes (I used a mix of mostly yellow and red cherry/big tomatoes)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tbsp +
Salt & Pepper : as per taste


Lightly toast almonds and keep aside. You can blanch these if you like. I have seen few versions with blanched almonds. I used almonds with the skins intact.

Powder the almonds first in the blender and then add garlic,basil, salt , pepper and cheese to it. Adding olive oil whizz this into a fine paste. Add the tomatoes and give a final blend. You can go for a coarse consistency. But I went for a slightly finer one. 

Prepare the pasta -penne or spaghetti as per instructions. Toss the hot pasta and pesto together. Adjust the seasonings and serve as a meal garnished with chilli flakes or basil as desired.

A simple recipe yet it has nuts herbs and right amount of fats. I have used the cheese and oil to a minimum and more basil. Also while googling one view I read advocated for smaller quantity of tomatoes. So mine is not red in colour as seen in other places and I also used yellow tomatoes along with red ones. The pasta is quiet healthy if you are using whole grain or  whole wheat pasta.


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