Pesto alla Trapanese

     Pesto alla Trapanese, another delicious pesto from Italy. This one from the island of Sicily. I'ts different from it's more famous cousin, usually just referred to as pesto but is actually called pesto alla Genovese. This pesto does have a nice bit of basil but it isn't the predominant feature. No, this pesto is based on almonds. It's a delightful mix of toasted almonds, fresh tomatoes, and of course basil. This style also has a few leaves of mint for an added twist in flavor. 

     I made this one night to go along with balsamic grilled pork, focaccia, and asparagus. I was making dinner and everything was going great until I realized I was out of cheese. It was a toss up, run out in the middle of making dinner or just skip it? So, and this is hard for me to admit, I skipped it. And it was absolutely amazing, i cant imagine the cheese would have really stood out here, the almonds were front and center. Also if you leave it out you have a great vegan recipe in your pocket. 

4 roma tomatoes
1/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1 oz. fresh basil, roughly chopped
10 mint leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. hard cheese, grated (optional)
pinch black peppers
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl halfway with ice and then all the way with water. Cut an X into the bottom of the tomatoes. Place in the boiling water for 10 seconds and then lift out and place in the ice water bath. Allow to stay for another 10 seconds and then remove. The peels should come right off. Peel all four tomatoes. Cut in half and use your finger to remove the seeds and gelatinous stuff holding them in place. Cut each half in to quarters. 

Add the tomatoes, garlic, and the almonds to a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are very finely ground. Add the basil, mint,  pepper and salt and continue processing until chopped fine. While still running slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process until smooth. 

To use with pasta - Place the pesto in the bottom of a large bowl. Cook 1 lb. of pasta. Drain the pasta and add on top of the pesto in the bowl. Wait for a minute or two and then toss to combine. Serve immediately. 


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