This pesto is from Erice, a beautiful small town in Sicily. Every city has their own way to make pesto, depending on the ingredients that are available. Pesto means “to pund” something together. The recipe is how my friend and chef Vincenzo make it. If you take a closer look you will se that he doesn’t use parmesan, like many other do in a pasta with pesto. From old times in Palermo parmesan was too expensive, they had to use what they had by their hand of local products, like almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, basil and tomatoes. Try it and let me know what you think!
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil, garlic infused
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons pistachio, roasted
- 1 tablespoon for the pesto & 1 tablespoon for garnish
- 1 tablespoon almonds, peeled
- 350 g cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- option: 150 g shrimps or 1 tin of tuna (185 g)
- 400 g pasta
Garlic infused olive oil: Make it before you start cooking. Pour 1,5 deciliters (150 ml) of extra virgin olive oil in a mug. Peel 2 cloves of garlic and add to the oil. Let rest.
Roasted pistachio: Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350F. Put the pistachios on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 3 minutes. Have 1 tablespoon of the roasted pistachios in a morter and pound them. If you don’t have a morter, shop them with a big knife. Leave on side for sprinkle.
This is how you make pasta with pesto Ericino:
- Have basil leaves, 1 tablespoon of the roasted pistachio, pine nutes, almonds and 100 ml olive oil in a food processor. Add 1 ts of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Blitz until smooth consistency.
- Put 50 ml of garlic infused olive oil in a big pan. Add the cherry tomatoes and pesto.
Option: At this point you can add shrimps or a tin of tuna to the sauce. Or you can leave the pasta as it is with pesto and tomatoes.
- Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water. Undercook the pasta with 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and add to the sauce pan.
- Remain 1 cup of pasta water and add to the sauce.
- Stir all together.
- Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Bring to boil, have a lid on and simmer 2 minutes.
- Serve with chopped pistachio.
Leftovers: If you get leftovers this pasta is good as a base for a pasta salad. Warm it a little bit, just to wake up the flavours and mix in your favorite salad ingredients. I made mine today with more tomatoes and cubes of cucumber.