Friday, February 20, 2015

Pasta with Pesto Alla Trapanese {One-Photo Friday}

Some weeks call for a big bowl of pasta. If it's an especially busy week, it calls for a quick sauce that you can throw together while the pasta is cooking. This week the grocery store had 5 oz containers of good grated Pecorino Romano on sale for $1.99. Being both cheap and lazy when it suits me, I picked one up and found Diana Henry's Pesto Alla Trapanese in Crazy Water Pickled Lemons. I liked the use of tomatoes--both fresh Roma and sun-dried and the combination of basil and oregano in this Sicilian recipe. A drier, coarser pesto like this needs a sturdy pasta so I used cellentani (corkscrew pasta). Make a fast salad and dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes.   

Diana says that this Sicilian pesto "is from the Ristorante da Peppe in Trapani where they serve it with thin pasta twists called casareccia, but you can use any pasta shape." 

I made a few small changes to the recipe, noted below in red.

Pesto Alla Trapanese 
Adapted Slightly from Crazy Water Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry

4 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 slices sun-dried tomato, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped (I used 4 large cloves)
3 oz blanched almonds (I used 1 1/2 oz each slivered almonds & pine nuts)
a good handful of basil leaves
leaves from 4 sprigs oregano
salt and pepper
2 1/2 fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz grated pecorino cheese (+ extra to top)

Place all ingredients except olive oil and pecorino cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse while adding the olive oil until combined but still coarse. (You can also make it using a mortar and pestle.)

Stir in pecorino, check the seasoning and serve with pasta.  

Notes/Results: Quick and simple with good, fresh flavors. The tomatoes give it a sweetness and a pop of acidity that I like. I only had about half of the blanched almonds needed so I added pine nuts and I increased the garlic too. This is a slightly wet pesto with the fresh tomatoes--I had reserved some of the cooking liquid to help mix it in but it wasn't needed. Since it isn't the most strongly-colored pesto, I garnished with extra pecorino, small oregano and basil leaves and sun-dried tomato. A nice change up from the usual pesto, I would make it again.

This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Curds & Whey week--featuring Diana Henry dishes with yogurt, labneh, feta, ricotta, and other cheeses. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

{One-Photo Friday: Since I normally drag out my big camera and gear, take a bunch of photos of my recipes, and then spend time obsessing over them--I decided that for Fridays, I'll simplify by posting a recipe or something interesting and then just take (usually) one photo of it with my iPhone--no muss/no fuss.}  


  1. Still snow on ground here so a comforting pasta is needed! I love interesting pestoes like this.

  2. Still snow on ground here so a comforting pasta is needed! I love interesting pestoes like this.

  3. That pesto sounds fantastic! I love all of the ingredients in it, especially the tomatoes, 2 ways.

  4. Yum to the yum :) I'll be trying this pesto -our garden tomatoes would be amazing in this recipe. I like your photo idea - because I obsess too.

  5. Great minds think alike! I was also craving the comfort of pasta this week (well, pasta and cheese....lots of cheese). I love that you added the sun dried tomatoes for color and flavor. I had those in my pantry and wish that I had read your post prior to making mine. That would have been a great addition! Those large corkscrew noodles are quickly becoming one of my favorite pasta shapes. They hold up so well to a variety of sauces and they are just plain fun to eat! Looks fantastic, Deb!

  6. Sounds great! I've yet to try pecorino.

  7. I've seen Nigella's recipe for this as well, but somehow I have never gotten around to making it!

  8. Pecorino cheese is not easily available here. I believe that even if I can find it, it would be very expensive. Your pasta looks delicious! I love pesto and this sounds really good!


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