There is nothing like making this famous Sicilian pesto with ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh basil from your own garden! Failing that your local farmer’s market is a great choice. The “sauce” is so easy to put together and the pasta is the only thing that requires cooking. Thanks goes to “Lidia’s Italy” for this! On a hot day, with a glass of chilled wine, I can’t think of anything better. You choose the vino!
Make the Pesto:
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 skin on almonds, lightly toasted (see below)
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 EVO
1 lb. spaghetti
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano)
Note: You will need either a blender or food processor to make the sauce.
Rinse and pat dry the cherry tomatoes. Rinse and pat dry the basil.
Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl, followed by the garlic, almonds, basil, pepperoncino and ½ tsp. salt. Blend for a minute to a fine puree; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces remain.
With the machine running, drizzle in the EVO in a steady stream, emulsifying the puree into a thick pesto. Taste ad adjust the seasoning. (If you are going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto, covered at room temperature). Otherwise refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but bring back to room temperature before cooking your pasta. I personally don’t recommend doing this because I really think the taste is so fresh when used within a couple of hours.
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 and drop into the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over, tossing again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.
Yummy, my mouth is watering while I am typing this recipe up! My tomatoes need to hurry up and ripen!