Pasta alla Trapanese (Sicilian Tomato Pesto)

Pasta alla Trapanese (Sicilian Tomato Pesto): A Taste of Sicily


Utilize our delectable recipe for Pasta alla Trapanese, sometimes referred to as Sicilian Tomato Pesto, to delve into the colorful and aromatic world of Sicilian cuisine. With its explosion of vibrant flavors and fascinating history, this meal captures the spirit of Italy’s biggest island and is sure to pique your interest. This recipe is a voyage you won’t want to miss, whether you’re an experienced cook or a cooking enthusiast. Let’s explore Sicily’s interior and produce a culinary masterpiece!

A Taste of History in Cuisine: Pasta alla Trapanese (Sicilian Tomato Pesto)

Bold flavors and straightforward ingredients come together in harmony in pasta alla Trapanese, which is a true expression of the island’s culinary heritage. The name and inspiration of this meal are derived from Trapani, a charming harbor city in Sicily. Using tomatoes, almonds, garlic, basil, and other local ingredients in a vivid and fragrant sauce that perfectly coats al dente pasta, this recipe honors the local bounty.

A symphony of flavors that is both familiar and foreign is produced when the sweetness of ripe tomatoes, the creaminess of almonds, and the freshness of basil are balanced. This dish, which combines components of Italian, North African, and Mediterranean flavors, is evidence of the diverse cultural influences that have moulded Sicilian cuisine over the years.

Pasta alla Trapanese (Sicilian Tomato Pesto)

Pasta alla Trapanese (Sicilian Tomato Pesto)

Utilize our delectable recipe for Pasta alla Trapanese, sometimes referred to as Sicilian Tomato Pesto, to delve into the colourful and aromatic world of Sicilian cuisine.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 380 kcal


  • large pot for pasta boiling
  • Mortar and pestle or a food processor
  • frying pan or saucepan
  • bamboo spoon
  • filter with fine mesh


  • 14 oz 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup almonds toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz 340g pasta (such as spaghetti or penne)
  • Grated Pecorino cheese for serving
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • Blanch and Peel Almonds: Almonds should be boiled in water and then blanched and peeled. Give them about 1-2 minutes to blanch. Rinse with cold water after draining. To get the skins off the almonds, gently squeeze them. On a kitchen towel, let them air dry.
  • Prepare the Tomato Sauce: To make the tomato sauce, use a knife to cut a "X" into the bottom of the tomatoes. The tomatoes should be blanched for about 30 seconds after a kettle of water comes to a boil. Remove and place them in an ice bath right away. Remove the seeds by peeling off the skins. To drain extra liquid, pass the tomatoes through a strainer with fine mesh.
  • Making the pesto : The blanched almonds, garlic, basil, and a small amount of salt should all be combined in a food processor or mortar and pestle. The mixture should be ground into a rough paste. Add the olive oil in a thin stream while processing until the mixture takes on a creamy consistency.
  • Combine and toss: Prepare the pasta per the directions on the package until it is al dente. Warm the tomato sauce over medium heat in a skillet or saucepan. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir in the made almond pesto. Pasta that has been cooked should be thoroughly coated in sauce.
  • Add Flavor to Finish: Turn off the heat and mix in the shredded Pecorino cheese. The cheese will melt from the residual heat, resulting in a rich, creamy sauce that clings to the pasta.
  • Serve and Garnish: Divide the pasta alla tramanese among dishes to serve and garnish. Add more fresh basil leaves and a dash of Pecorino cheese as garnish. For an additional layer of richness, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a small amount of pasta water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the tomato pesto, tossing to coat the pasta evenly. If the sauce seems too thick, add a splash of reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency.
  3. Serve the Pasta alla Trapanese in individual plates. Garnish with extra grated Pecorino cheese and fresh basil leaves.
  4. Enjoy the vibrant flavors of this Sicilian Tomato Pesto pasta!

Advice and Alternatives

  1. Go Nuts: To give your pesto a distinctive touch, experiment with various nuts, such as pine nuts or walnuts.
  2. Gluten-Free Alternative: To satisfy dietary restrictions without sacrificing flavour, choose gluten-free pasta.
  3. Anchovies: Add a few chopped anchovies to the pesto for a more umami flavor.

NUTRITION FACTS: Calories: 380 | Total Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 280mg | Total Carbohydrates: 18g | Dietary Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 12g


Q: What is Pasta alla Trapanese?
A: Pasta alla Trapanese, also known as Sicilian Tomato Pesto, is a classic dish originating from the coastal city of Trapani in Sicily, Italy. It features a flavorful sauce made from ripe tomatoes, blanched almonds, garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil.

Q: Can I substitute another kind of pasta for this recipe?
A: Definitely! Although spaghetti is a popular option, you can use any other pasta shape you like. With this sauce, rigatoni, penne, or fusilli all taste great.

Q: Can I make the dish vegan?
A: Yes, you can easily make Pasta alla Trapanese vegan by making a few substitutions. Use a plant-based pasta, omit the Pecorino cheese, and replace it with a vegan cheese alternative or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

Q: Can I prepare the sauce in advance?
A: Certainly! The tomato sauce and almond pesto can be made ahead of time and kept separate in the fridge. Simply combine the two and toss over just-cooked pasta when you’re ready to serve.

Q: Do I need Pecorino cheese or can I substitute Parmesan?
A: Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses are both excellent choices, but Pecorino brings a certain sharpness that enhances the flavors of the dish. If you only have Parmesan on hand, by all means use that instead.

Pairing Perfectly

Pasta alla Trapanese pairs wonderfully with a crisp, invigorating white wine, such as a Sicilian Grillo or a Pinot Grigio. For a tart and aromatic substitute, think about a sparkling lemonade that has been mixed with fresh basil leaves.

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Pasta alla Trapanese will transport you to Sicily’s exquisite flavors. With each bite, this dish transports you to the gorgeous alleyways of Trapani, where tradition and history collide. Let the flavor of Sicilian cuisine carry you to a place of timeless flavor as you enjoy the union of tomatoes, almonds, and basil. Share this dish with other foodies and become a part of our community by following our blog for more culinary ideas. Happy eating!

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