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Monday, September 9, 2013

Pasta with Tomato and Almond Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese)

This recipe is a fabulous use of home grown cherry tomatoes, although it's still quite good with cherry and grape tomatoes from the grocery store year round. I find that these little varieties are the best option for off-season tomatoes.The original recipe called for a stemmed, seeded, and minced  small pepperoncini instead of the red wine vinegar, but the red pepper flakes are spicy enough for me.


Pasta with Tomato and Almond Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese)

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1/4 c slivered almonds
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 c)
1/2 c packed fresh basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 teas red wine vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 c olive oil
1 lb pasta, preferably linguine or spaghetti
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 c), plus extra for serving

Toast almonds in a small skilled over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2-4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature.

Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, vinegar, 1 teas salt, and red pepper flakes 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 T salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 c cooking water, drain pasta, and transfer back to cooking pot.

Add pesto and 1/2 c Parmesan to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately. 

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