A Sicilian twist on the classic pesto – this golden pesto is made from blanched almonds, Parmesan, basil, and tomatoes. Pesto Trapanese is from Sicily and highlights tomatoes and blanched almonds as a pesto ingredient alternative.
We’re chugging right along on our Tour of Italy! A couple weeks ago I posted the delicious Pasta alla Norma, and then the Caponata (bruschetta topper). My goal was to post one Italy inspired dish a week for the next couple of months, but the flu hit our house this month and it took me down for a good two weeks. I caught mine on time to take Tamiflu, which really helped with my symptoms. The baby miraculously did not catch the flu from myself or my husband, which I was very thankful for!
No more talk of sickness– I want to introduce you all to the wonderful world of pesto. Did you know that pesto doesn’t just come in green? It can come in all sorts of colors with many different add-ins. For years I thought pesto was just basil, pine nuts, Parm and olive oil. This is the traditional pesto recipe, but in Italy, many other switches are made.
So, I bring you GOLDEN pesto! I bet you’ve never tried golden pesto before. It’s ingredients are very close to traditional pesto, but with two key ingredients added: tomatoes and blanched almonds. Traditional pesto uses pine nuts. I’ve always used unsalted raw walnuts in place of pine nuts just due to cost. But, you can also use blanched almonds! The reason you want blanched, is because it removes the outer brown “peel” of the almond. If you use regular almonds for this, you will have a grainy brown texture and color to your pesto. You can buy blanched almonds at the grocery store (or you can make them yourself and peel the outsides of the almonds but I would not recommend doing this due to time and I have no instruction for how to do so). I bought slivered, blanched almonds to make things very easy.
I used canned diced tomatoes for this recipe to also simplify things. Canned tomatoes are usually peeled– you don’t want the skin added to the pesto. In Italy I’m sure they use fresh tomatoes that they boil and then peel the skin off. Definitely don’t have time for that over in our house (well, I could probably find the time if I wanted to badly enough).
You will notice that this pesto turns a lovely golden color when you add the tomatoes to the blender or food processor. The more tomatoes you add, the more golden/brown the mixture will turn. Don’t be turned off by the color because the taste will be absolutely amazing, I promise. You just have to get the “pesto is only bright green” notion out of your head!
Here’s the recipe for Pesto alla Trapanese:
Pesto alla Trapanese
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 cup diced tomatoes I used canned Roma tomatoes
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 16 oz farfalle pasta (or your pasta shape of choice)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add 1 Tbsp of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the pesto except for the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, then run on low while drizzling in the olive oil until smooth.
Toss the cooked pasta with the pesto and garnish with additional grated parmesan.