Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trapanese Pesto

Last year (June 2010) I encouraged you to experiment with pesto, especially in the summertime when herbs are fresh and abundant! Pesto is easy to make in the food processor or even a blender and it goes well not only with pasta, but grilled bread, chicken, fish, pork, even the chimichurri on my husband's favorite steak dish is a type of pesto. You can freeze portions in ice cubes and save it for another day. Here is another variety that I found in the magazine Saveur. It comes from Trapani, a city in northwest corner of Sicily. Like many dishes from Sicily, this pesto calls for capers, tomatoes, anchovies, basil and unfortunately, raisins. I'm sorry, but raisins belong in oatmeal cookies, rice pudding and the rum soaked ones belong in rich vanilla ice cream. Chris would say they belong only in the garbage. If you ask me, Italians have much better uses for those grapes!
Needless to say I left the raisins out of this recipe. The result was a dish we couldn't stop eating. My sister was visiting and lucky for her she stayed for dinner. It was salty, savory, luscious and light! I know it's not the season for grape tomatoes anymore, and my basil plant is now a graveyard for squirrel treasures, but keep this one in mind for summer! Bookmark!

Trapanese Pesto
adapted from Saveur

  • 1 pint heirloom cherry/grape/pear shaped colorful tomatoes (don't you love how we describe fruit using other fruit??)
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 6 Tbsp evoo
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained but not rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 anchovy filets in oil, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pepperoncino, stemmed, seeded and chopped

Place tomatoes in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Pour tomatoes into a fine mesh strainer and drain off excess juice. Save the juice for soup! Back to the processor with tomatoes and add almonds, basil, Parmesan, oil, capers, red pepper flakes, anchovies, garlic and pepperoncino. When finely ground, taste and season with salt and pepper. Don't keep tasting. Save some for the pasta! Keep refrigerated until ready to prepare.

Place some pesto in the bottom of your serving bowl.  Boil the pasta of your choice in salted water until cooked to your liking. Using a spider strainer, transfer the cooked pasta to your serving bowl, carrying a bit of the pasta water along with it. Stir pasta and pesto until combined and dressed. Taste again for seasoning and serve immediately before you finish the bowl. Don't forget extra cheese for passing.

Buon Appetito!

1 comment:

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