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Trapanese Pesto

Trapanese Pesto is quick and easy to make in your food processor. It requires no cooking, making it the perfect summer sauce or topping. It is vegetarian; if you omit the cheese, it can be vegan. I use this pesto three ways. It can be a sauce on pasta, a bruschetta topping, or a dip with crackers, pita, or bagel chips.

Trapanese Pesto
(Tomato & Almond Pesto)

* Prep time 15 minutes 

Trapanese Pesto
On Pasta
Trapanese Pesto
As an appetizer topping


1/2 cup roasted Marcona Almonds, unsalted
2 Garlic cloves, puréed or finely minced
1 (14 ounces) can Whole San Marzano Plum Tomatoes*, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Sun-Dried but Soft Tomatoes**
1/3 cup fresh Basil Leaves
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Red Hot Pepper Flakes (add more if you like)
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese or Pecorino Cheese, plus more for topping


  1. If your Marcona almonds are raw. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the almonds on a baking sheet. Roast until the almonds begin to brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. If already roasted, skip to the next
  2. If your Marcona almonds are salted, rinse in water and pat dry.
  3. Place the almonds in a food processor along with the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil.
  4. Pulse to a rough chop. Maybe five pulses.
  5. Add in the canned tomatoes. Pulse until well blended.
  6.  Add cheese and red pepper flakes. (Note: The longer the pesto sits, the pepper flake intensity will increase.) Pulse until just blended.

7. Add in olive oil. Pulse until just blended. (It should be finely ground but not pureed.)Trapanese Pesto

8. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. (I do not, but some will think it needs it.)

It is now ready to be used as a pasta sauce or on bruschetta.

You can make ahead and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

However, it should be served at room temperature.

You may want to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes as it could be quite spicy after sitting for a few days.


*San Marzano tomatoes typically are meatier and have less liquid in the can.
** If you can not find soft sun-dried tomatoes, I’d use sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and allow them to drain well.

Pasta alla Trapanese – Double the recipe to serve four to six people

1 or 2 pounds of pasta of choice (short twisted works best)

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted, and oiled water until it is “al dente.”
Drain the pasta and serve as a dollop on your pasta, or toss the pasta with the sauce and grated cheese.
Serve immediately, offering additional cheese at the table.

Trapanese Pesto
On Pasta

Trapanese Bruschetta

Spread this pesto on toasted baguette slices. Top with freshly grated Parmesan

Trapanese Pesto Appetizer Dip

Trapanese Pesto
As an appetizer topping

See another Sicilian recipe here.


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