Tomato pesto alla Trapanese (Sicily) is a creamy pesto sauce made with fresh tomatoes you can serve with pasta. It is a great alternative to the green Pesto alla Genovese and it is ready in just 2 minutes. It is made by blending fresh tomatoes into a smooth luscious sauce with basil, pecorino, and extra virgin olive oil, with no peeling, and no cooking. Instead of pine nuts, this tomato pesto pasta salad is topped with toasted almonds which are locally grown in Sicily.
While the basil pesto is called Pesto alla Genovese as it is originally from Genova, Liguria region, tomato pesto is originally from Trapani, therefore called Sicilian Pesto or Pesto alla Trapanese.
It has a fresh tomato taste and a creamy consistency from the emulsified extra virgin olive oil and the local Pecorino cheese. The flavor is so refreshing and it is very easy to make. It only takes 2 minutes, no need to cook or peel the tomatoes.
I have seen some pesto recipes using sun-dried tomatoes, but in fact, the traditional Sicilian pesto recipe is made with fresh ones.
What tomatoes to use
To make tomato pesto you need to use the same long tomato you would use to make fresh tomato sauce. The best ones to use are the San Marzano, but if you cannot find them you can use the Roma.
You can also use cherry tomatoes or the Sicilian Pachino.
Canned peeled tomatoes will not do as they have been cooked. However, if you cannot find long tomatoes they can be an alternative, but the sauce will be watery.
The round tomatoes will have too many seeds and the skin will be harder, so they are not suitable.
For the pesto:
- Fresh tomatoes: San Marzano, Roma, Cherry tomatoes or Pachino
- Fresh basil: Use only fresh basil leaves. Do not use the stem or the flower.
- Pecorino cheese: I use Sicilian Pecorino or Ragusano cheese. You can also use Parmigiano Reggiano if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- Extra virgin olive oil: use a good quality as it is an important component of this pesto.
- Garlic clove: It is optional if you like garlic
The other ingredients:
- Pasta: The best pasta to use with tomato pesto are trofie, linguini, or fusilli (which I use in this recipe). The creamy pesto nicely amalgamates with these types of pasta
- Toasted almonds: to give some crunchiness toasted almonds are added instead of pinenuts on top. They are local Sicilian produce and used in many Sicilian recipes.
Check the recipe card for measurements.
How to make it
- Remove the top of the tomatoes
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters
- Add all ingredients for the pesto into the mixer
- Blend until the pesto becomes creamy and smooth
Making the pasta
- Boil the pasta in salted water
- While the pasta is boiling you can toast the almonds in a pan or in the oven
- Once the pasta is al dente, drain it
- Mix it with the pesto
- Pour the pasta into the bowl with the pesto
- Stir until all the pasta and the pesto are completely combined
- You can either serve it immediately while it is still warm or later once it is cold
If you want to cook your pasta like an Italian you can read the article: How To Cook Pasta Like An Italian
How to serve tomato pesto pasta
Because this tomato pesto pasta can be eaten cold, it is perfect to serve at a dinner party or have on a buffet table.
It is also a great side dish for a summer barbecue as it goes well with meat or fish.
My boys love it and could have it every day.
Other ways to serve this pesto
Traditionally this tomato pesto is used to season pasta, mostly during the summer when tomatoes are in season.
However, this pesto goes well with many other dishes. You can use it as a dip or as a Bruschetta topping.
I also like to serve it as a side sauce for grilled meat: beef, chicken, or lamb.
This recipe is included in the challenge: 7 Vegetarian Side-dishes for a Stress-free Party and you can find other side dishes to serve it with.
Storage and equipment
You can make the pesto the day before and store it in the fridge covered. It keeps it for 3 days.
It is not suitable for the freezer.
Recipes you might also like
If you are looking for more pasta with vegetable recipes, you can check the category: Pasta
Also check the recipes below:
- Pasta Caprese
- The Classic Pesto Recipe Pasta Trofie
- Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe
- Zucchini Recipe Pasta And Ricotta
- Pasta a Frittata: Italian Fried Pasta
- Black Truffle Recipe Pasta
If you are making this Tomato Pesto Pasta Alla Trapanese leave your comment below I would like to know which one is your favorite. You can find more delicious ideas if you FOLLOW ME on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram or sign up to my newsletter.
📋Tomato Pesto Pasta Alla Trapanese
- Remove the top of the tomatoes and cut the tomatoes into quarters6 fresh long tomatoes
- Add the basil leaves1 cup fresh basil leaves
- Add the parmesan cut into cubes¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Add salt and extra virgin olive oil1 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt
- Blend until it becomes creamy
- Toast the sliced almonds in a pan
- Serve it on pasta topped with toasted almonds¼ cup chopped toasted almond
- Or serve it on bruschetta or as a side sauce
- The best tomatoes to use are the fresh long ones (Roma or San Marzano type), the same used to make tomato sauce.
- Do not use canned tomatoes
- Do not use round tomatoes, there are too many seeds
- You don't need to cook nor peel the tomatoes
- You can make the pesto the day before and store it in the fridge and it keeps it for 3 days.
- Best served with Trofie pasta, fusilli or Linguini