Chopped almonds, salted sheep's ricotta and fresh tomatoes are the secret of Trapani-style pesto. Pesto alla Trapanese tastes delicious with pasta, gnocchi or rice and is a perfect, quickly prepared and light dish for the summer.
The city of salt
Trapani is located on the north-western tip of Sicily and is a centre of Italian salt production. The finest sea salt is extracted by means of evaporation in the salt pans around the city. Since Roman times, salt has contributed greatly to the city's wealth. It is no coincidence that the Italian word salario (wage) comes from sale (salt). At one time, wages were indeed paid partly in salt. Today, the salt flats are natural oases with breath-taking landscapes and unique flora and fauna. Among others, pink flamingos are at home here. Pesto alla Trapanese is at home in Trapani.
The origin of the seasons
Trapani is also associated with the wealth of the earth in Roman mythology. The city, whose shape from above resembles a sickle, is said to have been created when Ceres lost her sickle over Sicily. The goddess of grain and fertility was searching for her daughter, Proserpina. Pluto, the ruler of the underworld, had kidnapped the beautiful girl and made her his wife. When Ceres found her daughter, she had to resign herself to leaving Proserpina in the underworld for part of the year. However, when Ceres' daughter ascended to earth, she blossomed regularly and bore fruit. This is how the seasons are said to have come into being.
Spaghetti with pesto alla Trapanese
- 1 pot
- 1 pan
- 1 blender
- 380 g spaghetti, or long pasta
- 300 g tomatoes, fresh, medium-sized
- 50 g ricotta , salted sheep or Pecorino
- 1 clove garlic
- 50 g almonds, peeled and skinned
- 30 g basil, fresh
For serving (optional):
- basil, fresh
- some olive oil
- Blanch the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, then immediately rinse under cold water. This makes it easy to peel the tomatoes, but they do not become soft. Halve or quarter the tomatoes, shaking off the seeds and juice. The pesto would otherwise be too liquid.
- Coarsely chop the cheese. Peel the garlic and remove the inner shoot.
- Put the tomatoes in a blender. A mortar or a hand mixer works just as well. Add the garlic and blend. Now add the almonds and cheese and blend. Add the basil at the end. It should not get too warm, so only mix for a short time. Pour the pesto into a wide bowl and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water until al dente, then mix with the pesto. Serve with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.
Crack the unpeeled almonds with a nutcracker. Blanch the almonds in boiling water for 3 minutes and rinse under cold water. Now they are easy to peel out of the skin. The quickest way is to place the almonds in a cloth and rub them with the cloth.
If you want to store the almonds, they must be completely dry. Try this pesto with roasted almonds too!