Sicilian pesto pasta with a warm tomato salad

Sicilian pesto and warm tomato salad make a light summer meal.
Sicilian pesto and warm tomato salad make a light summer meal. Photo: Tim Grey
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Vegetarian

This lovely, light pesto hails from the west coast of Sicily. The warm tomato salad is an easy-pleaser when tomatoes are at their peak.

Ingredients

Sicilian pesto

6 small, or 4 larger tomatoes 

100g blanched almonds

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 bunches basil (leaves only)

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, large stalks removed

½ bunch mint leaves

¾ cup olive oil

1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes 

salt and pepper 

500g packet spaghetti

½ cup parmesan cheese

Warm tomato salad

4 to 6 tomatoes cut into chunks and seasoned

about 10-12 basil leaves

¾ cup olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

Sicilian pesto pasta

1. Using a sharp knife, score the tomatoes by cutting a cross at their base, then blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds. Peel and cut into quarters, removing some of the seeds, and set aside.

2. Finely grind the almonds in a food processor. Add the garlic, herbs and oil to form a paste and transfer to a bowl.

3. In the same food processor bowl, add the tomatoes and pulse until chopped. Add this to the pesto mix along with the chilli, salt and pepper. If it looks a little dry, add more oil and mix thoroughly.

4. Cook the pasta and add to the pesto, along with the parmesan cheese.

Warm tomato salad

1. In a large frying pan, add half the oil and heat until hot. Put in half the tomatoes and half the basil and toss quickly for about 30 seconds, then put in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes. Serve while warm.