Tomato Almond Pesto is a traditional Sicilian recipe that is great to use with pasta, sandwiches or as salad dressing.
For the final day of this week’s ‘Italian Sauces’ theme, I made a traditional Sicilian pesto known as Trapanese. It is nothing but a Tomato Almond pesto and a delicious variation to traditional basil pesto. After posting 2 cooked pasta sauces, I thought this no cook pasta sauce would be a great addition to my recipe repertoire.I wanted to try a pesto recipe for this week because it is easy to make and is very versatile. Pesto can be made with lots of different ingredients — from parsley and arugula to tomatoes, roasted red peppers and more. But a flavorful pesto needs 2 important ingredients — good quality olive oil and toasted garlic (to tame the sharp raw flavor).
This Tomato Almond Pesto recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen, ‘The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook‘. This recipe uses cherry/ grape tomatoes and toasted almonds. Pepperoncini (hot pepper in vinegar) adds a nice, spicy kick to the recipe. But I didn’t have it on hand, so used red wine vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes instead. As I said before pesto is very versatile.It is great on pasta, but it can easily jazz up just about anything, from sandwiches and omelets to salads and soups. My favorite way to use pesto is to stir in couple of tablespoons to equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream for a quick dipping sauce. Also dollop of pesto in soup adds a nice, herbal aroma and tons of flavor.
Tomato Almond Pesto
- 2 cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
- ½ cup Fresh Basil leaves
- ¼ cup Toasted Slivered Almonds
- ½ tsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp Crushed Red pepper flakes
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- To taste Salt & Pepper
- Dry roast unpeeled garlic clove in a small skillet on medium heat until the color of the clove changes slightly, about 5~7 minutes. Let the garlic cool slightly, then peel and mince.
- Blend/ process all the ingredients except for olive oil and parmesan cheese until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Next add the olive oil slowly until all the oil is incorporated.
- Transfer pesto to bowl, stir in cheese and season with salt & pepper.
- Use right away on pasta, sandwiches etc. Or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.
- When tossing pesto with cooked pasta, add some of the pasta cooking water to loosen the consistency of pesto.