Sicilian Pesto With Whole Wheat Spaghetti

11 07 2012

Unlike Genovese-style pesto (traditional basil pesto), this Sicilian version has the addition of tomatoes, and uses mint and almonds rather than basil and pine nuts. This light sauce comes together quickly, is creatively delicious and is a great way to help use up the plethora of tomatoes from your garden. Toss it with cooked pasta, use it as a spread for sandwiches or a topping on crostini.

Sicilian Pesto With Whole Wheat Spaghetti

The following serves 4, makes about 3 cups worth of pesto (compliments of Cuisine at Home):

  • 4-5 yellow or red globe or Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded (I didn’t peel mine, I cut them in half, scooped out the seeds and liquid and chopped up the tomato halves in chunks to make it easier on the food processor)
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 3 Tbsp shredded pecorino or grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp of juice)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box whole wheat spaghetti

Pulse tomatoes, mint, almonds, cheese, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve a little of the cooking liquid. Toss pasta and pesto in the pan you used to cook the pasta; add as much pesto as you desire. I like to add a little cooking liquid to help bind everything together (1/4 cup or less, depending how thick your pesto is). I divide tossed pasta among plates and top with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of cheese and a little lemon zest.

If you have leftover pesto, store it in an airtight container for up to a week.

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