Published: 08 Oct 2021
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with Pesto Alla Trapanese

Pesto Alla Trapanese is Sicily’s version of the traditional pesto but instead of using pine nuts, this one uses almonds and adds cherry tomatoes. For best results blend all the ingredients with a mortar and pestle, but you can use a food processor as well This simple-to-make recipe by Alain James Grech of Chef’s Table won’t take much time and adds a flavour to your table that is truly unique!

Serves 4


150g almonds (skin off and blanched)

40g breadcrumbs

600g fresh cherry tomatoes

3-4 medium garlic cloves

4 sprigs of fresh basil

125g Pecorino Romano

40ml Olive oil

40g Breadcrumbs

480g Casarecce pasta

Salt & Pepper


Roast the almonds until golden brown. Toast the breadcrumbs in a pan until golden brown and leave aside. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and lightly roast in the oven with a bit of olive oil. Place the garlic and a pinch of salt in a mortar and crush until they become a paste.

Add the toasted almonds and crush them until they too become a paste. Add the basil leaves and work them in until they break up into tiny bits. Add the cheese, followed by half the tomatoes and olive oil and mix. The final sauce should have the consistency of a rough paste.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, put in the pasta and cook it to your preference.

In a pan, sauté the pasta in the pesto sauce for about 1 minute. Plate the pasta and garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs, the remainder of the cherry tomatoes and add some more fresh basil on top. Season to taste but only after adding any extra pecorino as this will add saltiness to the dish.

Georges’ Favourite

Wine Pairing

Young, fruity reds bring out the herbaceousness of fresh green pesto and the taste of tomatoes. And, you can’t go wrong with an authentic, locally-grown bottle of Gellewza with a dish that bills itself as an authentic pasta dish. The varietal characteristics of this vibrant, unoaked garnet-coloured wine magically mirror the hint of liquorice in basil. Really, this earthy wine’s palate offers all the nice plum, cherry fruit flavours you could wish for. Serve cellar-cool.