Pesto Trapanese with Fettucine

I’m sure there are some Italians who would argue that this pesto trapanese (pesto from the western Sicilian town of Trapani) isn’t pesto at all, the only true pesto being Genovese. I consider it a a traditional Southern Italian classic all it’s own. 

Pesto Trapanese with Fettucine 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published

serves 4–6


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (about 3 cups)
  • 15 large basil leaves
  • 2 clove garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ kosher salt, or to taste, plus more for the pasta water
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • .75 cup pecorino-romano, parmigiano-reggiano, caciocavello or grana padano, freshly grated
  • 1 pound spaghetti, fettuccine, bucatini or other “ribbon-style” pasta


In a food processor, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, basil, almonds, and red pepper flakes. Pulse the machine 10 or 12 times. The resulting pesto should be a consistent texture, quite grainy but not too chunky and not too wet.

Scrape the the pesto in a serving bowl and stir, adding the remaining olive oil a little at a time. You may not need all of the olive oil depending on your tomatoes. Once the desired consistency is achieved add the grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside so that the flavors will have a chance to meld. 

In the meantime, bring 6 quarts water to a rolling boil and add 2 additional tablespoons salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package direction, until cooked, but still al dente. Drain well. Add the pasta to the pesto filled serving bowl and toss to combine. You may garnish with additional cheese and olive oil after the pasta has been plated.