There is nothing like making this pesto when the garden provides ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. It’s so easy to put together. Thanks to “Lidia’s Italy” for this one! On a hot day, with a glass of chilled wine, it just doesn’t get any better. You choose the vino!
¾ lb. cherry tomatoes, very ripe & sweet (not hothouse tomatoes)
12 large fresh basil leaves
1 plump garlic clove, crushed & peeled
1/3 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted (not blanched almonds)
¼ tsp. pepperoncino flakes (red chili flakes), or to your own taste
½ tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or to your taste
½ cup good EVOO
1 lb. spaghetti
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano)
You will need either a blender or food processor to make the sauce.
Rinse & pat dry the cherry tomatoes. Rinse & pat dry the basil.
Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl, followed by the garlic, almonds, basil, pepperoncino & ½ tsp. salt. Blend for a minute to a fine puree; scrape down the bowl & blend again if any large bits or pieces remain.
With the machine running, drizzle in the EVOO in a steady stream, emulsifying the puree into a thick pesto. Taste & adjust the seasoning. (If you are going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto, covered at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but bring it to room temperature before cooking your pasta).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil & add 1 Tbsp. salt. Cook the spaghetti al dente. While the pasta is cooking, scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl. When the spaghetti is done, drain briefly & drop into the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over & toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.
Yummy, my mouth is watering while I am typing this recipe up! Hurry up & ripen cherry tomatoes!