Pasta with Tomato and Almond Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese)

From America's Test Kitchen Season 10: Saucy Italian Favorites

Why this recipe works:

For a tomato pesto recipe that didn’t disappoint, we used toasted ground nuts, which provided body and crunch to offset the tomatoes’ pulpiness, and a modest amount of olive oil to make the sauce creamy without too much richness. The result was a clean, bright tomato pesto recipe with fruity,… read more

For a tomato pesto recipe that didn’t disappoint, we used toasted ground nuts, which provided body and crunch to offset the tomatoes’ pulpiness, and a modest amount of olive oil to make the sauce creamy without too much richness. The result was a clean, bright tomato pesto recipe with fruity, vibrant sweetness.

less

Serves 4 to 6

A half teaspoon of red wine vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes can be substituted for the pepperoncini. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender may be substituted. In step 2, pulse ingredients until roughly chopped, then proceed with the recipe, reducing processing times by half.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 small pepperoncini (hot peppers in vinegar), stemmed, seeded, and minced (about 1/2 teaspoon) (see note)
  • Table salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound pasta, preferably linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

Instructions

  1. 1. Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature.

    2. Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 30 seconds.

    3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.

    4. Add pesto and ½ cup Parmesan to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.

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