On the weekend, Mike and I love sharing easy dinners in front of a good movie or binge watching a few of our favorite episodes. I often serve up what I call, a “picky” dinner. That’s a meal that’s full of small things to choose as we want them. This Trapanese Pesto is perfect for a dinner like this – not only can we scoop up the pesto with bread, we can also enjoy it with crunchy fresh veggies like snow peas and carrots or splash it out with roasted shrimp.
Trapanese Pesto is different from our more familiar Italian pesto because it’s made with a few different ingredients, and it comes from a really cool area in Sicily. Trapani is a seaside town in western Sicily. The coast is lined with salt pans, (a shallow container or depression in the ground in which salt water evaporates to leave a deposit of salt), along the coast road between Trapani and Marsala. The salt is a different consistency than the table salt we are used to – its larger, flakier and sticks together more. Below, you can see a photo of some of the she salt pans. That’s a walkway between the pans.
This pesto uses almonds instead of more traditional pine nuts because almonds are grown all over the island, mint along with basil, pecorino cheese instead of parmesan – pecorino is a sheep’s milk cheese – there are lots of sheep in Sicily!
Pesto alla Trapanese
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- ½ Cup Blanched Almonds
- About 2 Cups Basil Leaves (4 Large Bunches)
- 4 Mint Leaves
- ½ Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
- 1 Cup Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes (drained)
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ – 1 Tsp Trapani Sea Salt, (Coarse or Flaky Sea Salt is a great substitute)
- Toasted Rustic Bread, Roasted Shrimp or Fresh Veggies to serve
In a food processor, pulse the garlic with almonds until roughly chopped. Add basil, mint, cheese, tomatoes, and olive oil and process to a rough paste. Season to taste with salt.
Donnafugata ‘SurSur’ Grillo Sicilia IGT, Sicily, Italy
Open a bottle of easy drinking Grillo wine to enjoy while eating this delicious pesto – a wine easy to find that is versatile, light and affordable at only about $15 a bottle. This white grape variety is most famous for its role in the island’s fortified Marsala wines. Now this delicious white grape is most commonly used in a variety of still white wines. Donnafugata, whose winery is located inside the area of Marsala, makes this delicious Grillo, a light-bodied white transports you to the Sicilian seaside with its fresh flavors of stone fruit and crisp minerality. The picture above is from a fun visit to Donnafugata I made recently!