Pasta with almond, basil and pecorino pesto (pesto alla Trapanese)
Homemade pesto is such a treat. This version comes from Trapani in Sicily, and uses almonds and tomatoes instead of pine nuts.
- 75g/2¾oz almonds in their skins
- large handful basil (about 30g/1oz), torn (reserve a few leaves for decoration)
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 300g/10½oz cherry tomatoes, halved
- 50g/1¾oz pecorino cheese (or vegetarian hard cheese), grated, plus extra to serve
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 8 turns black peppermill
- ½ tsp salt, plus extra for cooking
- 500g/1lb 2oz spaghetti, linguine or bucatini, to serve
Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the almonds for a few minutes. Drain and set aside to cool, then pinch off the skins.
Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over medium–high heat. Keep them moving to prevent burning; they should be a light golden colour.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the basil and garlic and pulse a couple of times. Tip into a bowl.
Mix in the tomatoes, pecorino and oil. Season with the salt and pepper.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain it and stir the pesto through. Serve, garnished with basil, with plenty of pecorino.