I was watching Nigella on tv the other day, preparing her own variation of pesto alla trapanese, in which she used sultanas and anchovies. I didn't fancy that particular combination much (to each their own, obviously) but it reminded me that it had been a long, long time since I made any kind of pesto.
Those who know me are well aware that for this sort of preparation and many others I never follow any kind of recipe nor measure things. Also, far be it for me to claim any sort of authenticity for what you'll read below. All I know is that it's delicious, and that's already a good thing.
|Pesto alla trapanese|
Ingredients: (4 persons)
- 350-400 g cherry tomatoes or, as a rule of thumb, 8-10 cherry tomatoes per person
- 2 fat cloves of garlic
- a large handful of basil
- a handful of blanched almonds
- extra virgin olive oil
- about 100 g of grated pecorino cheese
- optional: a few mint leaves
Blanch the almonds. Place them in boiling water for one minute then immeditely take them out of transfer them to a bowl of cold water. The skin should come right off when you press the almonds between your fingers.
Place the blanched almonds, cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. If using mint, add it now. Pulse until chopped but not pureed (so that the almonds still retain a little bite) then add olive oil and mix until obtaining a smooth sauce.
Cook the pasta al dente. Retain a small cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta. Immediately add the sauce and mix well. Add the grated pecorino and mix again. If you feel the sauce is a little dry, add a spoonful at a time of the cooking water until satisfied.
Note: another way of preparing this pesto is by using a pestle and mortar, which will make for a more rustic, crunchy sauce. If you do it this way, chop the cherry tomatoes into small cubes and do not grind them down with the rest of the ingredients.