Casarecce Siciliane with Pesto “alla Trapanese”

A Sicilian pasta shaped like a scroll, this shape is traditionally paired with pesto.Trapanese pesto is an ancient version based on tomatoes and almonds, with basil added for color and flavor.

2 1/4 pounds Barilla Casarecce Siciliane
18 peeled, diced plum tomatoes
1 1/8 cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups fresh basil
as needed salt
as needed black pepper
2 1/4 cups blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups grated romano cheese
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. In a bowl, marinate 4 of the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil, 6 julienned basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a blender or robocoupe, grind the almonds, garlic, remaining oil, and cheese. Pulse in remaining tomatoes and basil, leaving them chunky. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

For each serving, to order: Reheat about 1 1/4 cups pasta in simmering water. Drain and add to a saute pan with some of the pesto and enough cooking water to loosen the sauce. Toss and plate. Garnish with some of the marinated tomatoes.