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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.



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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
salt
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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