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Pesto Alla Trapanese {Sicilian Almond, Tomato & Basil Pesto}

A month of Sicilian foods and recipes couldn’t have gone without one of my favorite pasta sauces – pesto!

Pesto alla Trapanese is a Sicilian pesto with 3 main ingredients: almonds, tomatoes and basil.

As its name implies it’s a typical pesto from province of Trapani.

In ancient times, ships coming from Genoa to the port of Trapani brought their traditional raw sauce made with garlic and nuts, called “l’agliata ligure”

As time went by, local sailors added their typical foods like almonds and fresh tomatoes.

And this is how we know Pesto Alla Trapanese today.

Its lightly crumbly texture (just enough to feel the crunch of almonds) and delicate taste makes it a perfect pair to any kind of pasta: served hot or cold!

Pesto All Trapanese

But of course, the most typical and traditional way to serve Pesto Trapanese will be with busiate – type of long, thin hollow tube pasta twisted in the way that it resembles a telephone cord.

Now, a few words about some of the ingredients and variations.


Ripe, meaty  plum tomatoes that have very little water and seeds are the best. But you can use any kind of tomatoes you have on hand. Just make sure you remove excess liquid and the seeds before adding them to the food processor, otherwise your pesto will be too watery.


Pesto Trapanese used blanched almonds – skin removed. You can get already blanched almonds at the store and remove the skin with simple steps explained in the recipe.


Of course, only fresh, bright green basil leaves should make it to the pesto bowl.


Being one of the basic ingredients of the whole “Pesto Alla Trapanese” story it might sound even absurd.

BUT. If you don’t like strong garlic taste use just use a small pinch of a clove or skip it entirely.

Food processor or Mortar-and-pestle

The choice is yours. Of course you’ll get a slightly different results applying your manpower 😉

The only important thing to keep in mind that whichever tool you use make sure not to “destroy” your pesto into a cream. There still should be some almond crumbles for the texture.

For the rest, it should be pretty straightforward – especially with a food processor – ready, pulse, go! ← one of the reasons to LOVE PESTO 😍

Full Recipe

Pesto All Trapanese
2 from 1 vote

Pesto Alla Trapanese {Sicilian Almond, Tomato & Basil Pesto}

Pesto alla Trapanese is a delicious Sicilian pesto made with 3 main ingredients: almonds, tomatoes and basil.
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time5 minutes
Course: Pesto, Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6


  • ½ lb tomatoes (250 g)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (40-50 g)
  • cup almonds ,blanched (60 g)
  • 2 tbsp Pecorino cheese , grated
  • 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ – 1 garlic clove , core removed
  • Salt to taste


Blanch Tomatoes

  • Put a small pot of water to boil.
  • Cut an x into the top of each tomato.
  • Once water is boiling immerse tomatoes for 60 seconds.
  • Transfer tomatoes into a bowl with cold water.
  • Peel of tomato skin.
  • Remove extra water and seeds.

Blanch Almonds

  • Repeat steps 1,3,4,5 from the process above.
  • Or use store-bought blanched almonds.

Make Pesto Alla Trapanese

  • Place all ingredients except Pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil in a food processor or a countertop blender.
  • Pulse a couple of times until you get even, slightly crumbly texture.
  • Add Pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Make some pasta!


Store in the fridge in a closed container for 2-3 days or in the freezer for a couple of months.
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Pesto All Trapanese

Pesto Alla Trapanese, aside of being used as a pasta condiment is also used in another typical to the region dish –babbaluci cu l’agghia – snails cooked and seasoned with Pesto Alla Trapanese.

Buon Appetito!

Pesto Alla Trapanese {Sicilian Almond, Tomato & Basil Pesto}
Recipe Rating


Sunday 13th of September 2020

Far,far too much basil and ground /blended/processed WAY too fine.

Italian Recipe Book

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

Hello Amos, thank you for your comment. You can adjust the amount of basil to your liking. As to the texture I highly recommend not processing it too much. You still want a slightly crumbly texture that lets you feel the almond crunch with your pasta. Hope you'll give it another try.

Busiate Pasta With Pesto Alla Trapanese - Italian Recipe Book

Monday 8th of October 2018

[…] of course, there is no recipe more authentic than Busiate make with Pesto Alla Trapanese – Sicilian almond, tomato and basil […]