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Sicilian Pasta Pesto alla Trapanese with Almonds

Pesto alla trapanese is a glorious Sicilian recipe made with almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, it makes for the best pasta sauce.

It’s quick too, you can easily make this in the amount of time that it takes to boil pasta… 20 minute dinner anyone?

Pasta pesto alla trapanese fresh tomato and basil being picked up with a fork.

Sicilian Almond Pesto

I am coming over all “The Sound of Music” with this pesto alla trapanese recipe because it really is a list of so many of my favourite things.

The ingredient list reads basil, almonds, anchovies, capers, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan cheese.

There are many variations on this and I am sure many arguments are to be had, but I care for none of that nonsense!

Admittedly, it’s a combination that may not sound like a natural fit. But my gosh does this taste good when it is combined!

I had no idea that the Sicilians had been combining them into a pesto for centuries until a good friend mentioned it to me!

I love pesto and have “a few” here already. Everything from wild garlic pesto to red sun-dried tomato pesto and classic basil pesto to rocket pesto that I use on a goat cheese pizza and a pea pesto!

This is by far my favourite and it is the best pesto to serve with plain pasta in my opinion.

Pasta pesto alla trapanese with spaghetti, fresh tomato and basil.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will this homemade pesto store?

If you store it in the fridge in a jar under a layer of oil this should be fine in the fridge for around 1 week.

I personally prefer to make this fresh each time.

Can you freeze pesto?

The internet says yes, I tried it to verify and I’m honestly not happy with the results.

The texture became grainy and the flavours became incredibly dull and for that reason, I’ll not do it again!

Is it better to make pesto in a blender or a pestle and mortar?

If you ignore all practicality and are only interested in results then a pestle and mortar every time.

This is because pounding a pesto gets the oils flowing in the nuts and herbs which means more flavour. A blender cuts them which is very different.

I tend to blend first and then finish in a pestle and mortar for a few minutes.

Do I have to use my best olive oil?

I honestly usually use the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes for this recipe, so no!

Overhead pasta pesto alla trapanese fresh tomato and basil.

Serving Suggestions

In terms of serving this with pasta I usually use spaghetti with pesto alla trapanese. However, it is traditionally associated with a corkscrew-shaped pasta called busiate.

As for sides then I typically don’t stray much further away than a nice cheesy garlic bread. Mainly because my wife would hurt me!

But don’t get tunnel-visioned, I’ve used this pesto in everything from my pesto cod pasta recipe to sticking it in a cheese toastie!

It is also exceptionally good spread on grilled lamb chops, mackerel fillets or stuffed and rolled in some pork tenderloin.

Close-up pasta pesto alla trapanese fresh tomato and basil.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Mini blender and or pestle and mortar.
  • Sieve or colander.
  • Stirring and serving implements.
Sicilian pasta pesto all trapanese with tomato concasse and fresh basil.
Yield: 2 Servings

Pasta Pesto Alla Trapanese Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This pesto alla trapanese is a collection of glorious ingredients that may make you raise an eyebrow, but once you try it you will be hooked and it makes the finest pasta sauce!


For the Pesto:

  • 50g (¼ Cup) Blanched Almonds
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • 20g (2 Tbsp) Golden Raisins
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove
  • 25g (½ Cup Packed) Basil Leaves
  • 50g (¼ Cup Drained) Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil
  • 30g (⅓ Cup) Parmesan Cheese
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Olive Oil

For the Pasta:

  • 200g (7 oz) Spaghetti
  • Salt for Boiling Pasta


  1. Place the almonds in a hot dry pan and toast for 3-4 minutes, ensuring that you keep them moving all of the time. I usually use the same pan I am going to cook the pasta in!
  2. Bring a saucepan (20cm or 8") of water to a boil and season generously with salt, 1½ teaspoons for a pan this size and then cook the pasta until al dente.
  3. Cool the almonds for 5 minutes then place them in a blender with the anchovy, capers, raisins, garlic cloves, basil and parmesan cheese.
  4. Pour over the olive oil and then blend to form a pesto. I like to transfer this to a pestle and mortar to finish off adding a little more olive oil if needed to get a pleasing texture.
  5. Drain the pasta reserving around 75ml (⅓ cup) of the cooking liquid.
  6. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the pesto then stir adding as much of the reserved pasta water needed to form a silky coating.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 954Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 682mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 9gSugar: 19gProtein: 26g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Friday 28th of August 2020

I have just discovered your site and I'm anxious to try this beautiful recipe among others. The problem I have currently is that I see nowhere to subscribe to your site. Will you please put me on your list? Thank you so much!

Brian Jones

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Hi Erika... I let my "list function" slip a long time ago, you can sign up here if you wish although I only use it to send out new recipes for the previous week. I do have plans to introduce a newsletter in the future but I am not quite there yet.


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