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Playing Strozzapreti with Trapanese Pesto


  • 6 to 7 large plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds or Marcona Almonds
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A small handful basil
  • About 1/3 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound strozapretti or other short-cut pasta
  • 1/2 cup combined parsley and mint leaves, chopped
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated


Serves: 4-6


Preheat oven to 400°F. Toast nuts in oven to deep golden. Cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 

Score an X on the bottom of the tomatoes, drop them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and cold shock; drain. Peel the skins then halve and seed tomatoes.

Keep the water boiling for the pasta.
Place toasted nuts in a food processor and pulse into fine-medium bits. Add garlic, about half the oil, the sherry vinegar and basil, and pulse to combine. Add the tomatoes a few at a time and pulse – you want the sauce to remain red and not be too aerated.

(If you have a mortar and pestle, mash garlic with oil, vinegar and basil first, add nuts and grind then add tomatoes to form the pesto.)

Add pesto to a large serving bowl and stir in remaining EVOO. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
Salt boiling water heavily then cook pasta to a minute shy of al dente. Add 1 cup of the starchy cooking water to the pesto, drain pasta then toss with the pesto to combine. Top with parsley, mint and cheese.