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4.84 from 6 votes

Pesto alla Trapanese

Pesto alla Trapanese is a Sicilian style pasta that combines basil, mint, tomato, almonds, and Pecorino Romano to create a pesto that's tossed with al dente pasta.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound gemelli pasta or busiate, casarecce, penne
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water will not need it all
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 packed cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more if needed
  • 1 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes skin and seeds removed, see notes below
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste


  • Add the garlic and almonds to a large food processor and pulse until a rough paste is formed.
  • Add the basil, mint, parsley, olive oil, plum tomatoes, and crushed red pepper and pulse again until a rough paste is formed.
  • Add the Pecorino and pulse one more time. If additional olive oil is needed, add at this time. Taste test the pesto and season with salt to taste. Place the pesto into a bowl and let it sit for at least 30 minutes so that the flavor gets stronger. Refrigerating overnight will further strengthen the flavors.
  • While the pesto is sitting, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
  • Add 3/4 of the pesto to a large heatproof mixing bowl. Once the pasta has finished cooking reserve at least 2 cups of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the pesto. Mix well, while adding a tablespoon of pasta water at a time to achieve a smooth consistency.
  • Taste test and make final adjustments to salt and pepper. A dollop of the remaining pesto can be served on top of the pasta in each serving bowl or it can be saved in the fridge. Enjoy!



  • Pesto all Trapanese tastes even better the next day.  Placing the pesto in the fridge overnight will really concentrate the flavors.  At a minimum, wait at least 20-30 minutes before mixing the pesto with the pasta.
  • Any type of tomato can be used but plum and cherry tomatoes work best.  You don't have to blanch the tomatoes and remove the seeds and skin, but it improves the texture of the pesto. 
  • Canned plum or cherry tomatoes work very well, often better than fresh tomatoes that aren't super ripe.  If using canned tomatoes, drain all of the liquid and remove the seeds.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 5 days in the fridge.  The pesto can be frozen in ziplock bags and will last that way for up to 6 months.


Calories: 799kcal | Carbohydrates: 95.2g | Protein: 25.7g | Fat: 37.8g | Saturated Fat: 7.4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 7.4g | Sugar: 10.3g | Calcium: 250mg | Iron: 7mg