PASTA WITH TOMATO AND ALMOND PESTO (PESTO ALLA TRAPANESE)

 

  • Cooking Time:
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Preparation Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 small pepperoncini (hot peppers in vinegar), stemmed, seeded, and minced (about 1/2 teaspoon) (see note)
  • Table salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound pasta , preferably linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese , grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

Directions

  • Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature.
  • Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 30 seconds.
  • Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
  • Add pesto and ½ cup Parmesan to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.
  • MY VARIATION TO ABOVE RECIPE:
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound grilled steak, chopped
  • Saute onion, green pepper, and fresh mushrooms in olive oil until tender crisp. Remove from heat, stir in steak. Toss with cooked pasta. Add pesto and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add pasta cooking water, if necessary.

Notes

Do you want an easy, tasty side dish? This was perfect with leftover chicken and will definitely have a repeat performance in my home.

Author Credit: Cook's Illustrated

Website Credit: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=19843

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