Strozzapreti with Trapanese Pesto
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- 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
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.