This summery pasta is a celebration of every Sicilian’s favourite things - olive oil, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs.
There are endless varieties of pesto in Italy. One that’s very popular in Sicily hails form the city of Trapani (and as such it’s called “pesto trapanese”) and features fresh tomatoes and almonds. My mum makes another version using sun-dried tomatoes and almonds instead.
This is my own version. I use both fresh and dried tomatoes. I don’t peel the almonds because I prefer them with skin on.
You can add some cheese to the pesto (pecorino if you can) though I really prefer it without - it’s nuttier and lighter. I add chillies, but you can adjust the heat to your taste.
And I add fennel seeds - another very Sicilian ingredient - because I vaguely remember my grandma used to add it to her tomato sauce and this is a non-negotiable ingredient in this dish.
This is one of my go-to pasta and I promise you, it just tastes like sunshine and summer. Hope you try it.
Ingredients (for 2)
200g bow tie (or other shape) pasta
A handful of fresh basil
A handful of fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
50g sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1-2 small dried red chillies (or chilli flakes)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A handful of fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
Bring water to a boil and add salt. Throw in the pasta and cook according to the time indicated on the package.
While the pasta is cooking, place all other ingredients minus the fresh tomatoes in a blender and blend to your preferred consistency - I like mine to be quite coarse. You may need to add a few spoons of the pasta’s cooking water to blend everything nicely. The cooking water will be starchy which will make the pesto creamier.
Drain the pasta when it’s still al dente, transfer to a large bowl and stir in the pesto. Now you can also add the chopped tomatoes. Mix well and serve immediately.
Word of the Day
(Butterfly, pronounced far·fàl·la)