Monday, September 16, 2013

Penne with Pesto alla Trapanese

Almonds and tomatoes! Blend that into a fresh pesto for a quick pasta meal that is low in calories, yet hearty and delicious.

I found this recipe in a magazine a couple of years ago. Actually, I think I found it in Men's Health Magazine, one of my husband's favorites. The recipe comes from a Lidia Bastianich, host of Lidia's Italy. I have never seen the show, but she is quoted in the magazine article as saying, "This recipe brings me back to Sicily and the friend who taught me this new version of pesto with almonds. It's quick, simple and easy to clean up!" It sounded like the perfect weeknight meals I could make in minutes, and I loved it from the very first go.

You know, I think I will look Lidia up on the internet. Maybe I should start watching her show if it is still on... Okay, I am reading her bio now. I guess she is pretty reknown...I feel like I have been living under a rock now or something. She has a major NYC restaurant with her son and rock star chef Mario Batali as partners, plus she has jars of pasta sauce for sale with her picture on it and all. I really need to get out more. Sigh!!!

Now that I have some lovely tomatoes (Roma, cherry & red) from SLO Veg and all the other required fresh ingredients, I am thinking about this pesto. The key is to blend, pour onto hot pasta, and waiting. That's Pesto alla Trapanese at its best! Its gonna be our workout night go-to dinner.

Tonight I also cooked some opah fish seasoned with lemon pepper and coarse sea salt in butter and served it alongside the pesto pasta, which was linguine, not penne. Tomatoes, garlic, parmesan cheese and fish... I'd say that's about as Mediterranean as it gets!

Pesto with Pesto alla Trapanese

3/4 lb. penne rigate pasta
1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
8 large, fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp. unsalted roasted almonds
1 large garlic clove, crushed and peeled
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
2. While pasta cooks, rinse the tomatoes and basil and pat dry.
3. Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor, followed by the basil, almonds, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Blend for a minute or more into a fine puree; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large pieces are left.
4. With the machine still running, add the olive oil in a steady steam to emulsify into a thick paste.
5. Scrape the pesto into a big bowl. Drop drained pasta onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the pasta, sprinkle on cheese, and toss again. Serve immediately in bowls.

1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy! I just bought spaghetti squash and will have to try and use it as my pasta base for something like this!