Pesto Trapanese WOW

If you have a ton of cherry tomatoes in the garden, and you know I do (my plant is 9 feet tall!), then let's get rid of some of them, in a good way.

Today's travels take us to Trapani, on the West coast of Sicily.

I have seen Trapanese pesto on Lidia's site and other Italian sites but had never taken the plunge.

This month's Saveur issue is all about pesto. Not just the Genovese kind made with basil, pine nuts and cheese, but every Italian variety imaginable. Sundried tomato; pistachio; cilantro pesto; salsa verde; and this wonderful Trapanese pesto made with cherry tomatoes.

This may sound odd at first, using almonds with tomatoes, but it really is a treat. It's easy to make up a batch of this sauce using the gazillion cherry tomatoes and basil you have in the garden (and at the farmer's market now).

Most traditional versions don't use the 2 anchovies and the golden raisins, but I found these additions made it special. I stuck to the recipe pretty much and we loved this rich, unusual pesto sauce.

I hope you try it.

Pesto Trapanese w/ Corkscrew Pasta (adapted from Saveur): serves 6

1 lb. fusilli (corkscrew) pasta

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup of toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used Colavita)
2 tbsp golden raisins
2 tbsp capers, drained
shake of hot pepper flakes
3 anchovy filets in oil, drained
1 clove garlic
kosher salt & pepper

Start by pulsing the cherry tomatoes in a food processor until finely chopped.

Pour tomatoes into a fine strainer and drain off the excess juices.

Place tomatoes back into the food processor and add the rest of the ingredients.

Pulse until finely ground and season w/ a pinch of kosher salt & pepper.

Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Boil pasta as per directions, saving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid (don't forget!).

Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pesto sauce and a few tablespoons of the pasta water to make it smooth.

I liked this cold out of the fridge late at night as much as I did served hot!


Ciao Chow Linda said…
Stacey - I've got that issue of Saveur too and have been so tempted to try some of those pestos, including the wonderful one you made from Trapani.
Oui, Chef said…
LOVE the sweet-salty that the raisins and capers offer. May have to check our Saveur for more great pestos, thanks for tuning me on to this issue. - S
The JR said…
raisins and capers....interesting
Unknown said…
Yum, Stacey, this looks and sounds wonderful! I too have such a plethora of tomatoes right now, this looks perfect! I know I will think back to them this winter with great longing so I'm trying to appreciate each sweet bite! Thanks, Chris
Bluebird NY said…
This pesto looks amazing!
kat said…
Wow, that is an amazing sounding pesto!
Joanne said…
Word on the street is that my CSA is getting cherry tomatoes today. Perfect timing!
Michele said…
Very interesting! I'm going to pick up a copy of that magazine right away. I love pesto!
I have so many cherry tomatoes they're coming out of my ears! but none with nipples. lol! Your dish looks beautiful even though I'm not an anchovy girl!
Dana said…
OMG, I just bookmarked that recipe as it came through in my email! It looked so good to me - good to know that it's as delicious as it looks.
Eileen said…
I think I have to make this tomorrow (with purchased cherry tomatoes). Our local newspaper explained why no one is getting tomatoes. Too cool and damp in the spring and too, too hot this summer. Needed to prune the plants and remove all tomatoes the size of a quarter, or less. Bummer! Maybe we'll have tomatoes in September ???
Oh wow, thanks for sharing! This looks rich and so delicious. Tomato and almond is a wonderful combination! I made a sauce out of the two for over fish recently but never thought about it for pasta. Genius!
I never miss your posts; you always find something interesting and wonderful to share. Love the idea of the raisins with the almonds and tomato mixture.
lisa is cooking said…
I love Trapanese sauce! I actually really like making it by hand and squeezing the tomatoes. I haven't made it yet this summer and need to. I need to read that issue of Saveur too!
The Food Hunter said…
I'm so jealous of all your tomatoes...and this pasta looks delicious.
Anonymous said…
Stac, Jim from Montville. We made this for dinner tonight, WOW is right. Karen and I loved this. Kids too.
Amazing and so easy. This is a "keeper" for us.
Anonymous said…
First a suggestion, save that drained tomato sauce because I had to add almost all mine back to get the right consistency, and if not, use it for something else!

Now for the whole comment.

Hi there! I made this pesto for the 2nd time tonight, first time maybe 6 months ago, which might have been my introduction to Saveur magazine thanks to your article, and I subcribe to their emails for plenty of great recipes. But I found this on your website first!

As you say, the anchovies, capers and raisins are not traditional, really nobody uses them besides Saveur, but for those who like savory food they are a great addition. Now that I've made them that way it would be disappointing without them.

We put these on some fancy ravioli last night and it was probably a little strong for them, but tasty. I'll use the rest on a plain pasta instead. It would be great on chicken too, or maybe a plain cheese ravioli.

I followed the Saveur version pretty much to the letter, which is very unusual for me, as I couldn't find your site last night, and it came out great. Again, I had to add most of the tomato juice back at the end.

Also I'd say I toasted the almonds just a bit much, many don't toast them and I think they should be toasted very lightly.