I’ve been making this for a few years now. As it is a raw sauce with few ingredients, use good quality cheese and tomatoes- it is well worth the added effort. This is best in summer when you have tomatoes from the garden or the farmer’s market. I wouldn’t bother making it with hot house tomatoes. Unless the tomatoes have been sun ripened, I don’t think they have enough flavor to make an impact. Anyway, it’s a great recipe.

Spaghetti with Pesto from Trapani: Spaghetti al Pesto Trapanesi

Recipe courtesy Mario Batali
Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
10 min
4 servings


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated caciocavello
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole ripe tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes


In a food processor, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic 1/2 of the basil, almonds and tomatoes. Pulse and chop until almost blended. The resulting pesto will be a little chunky and not too wet.
Place the pesto in a bowl and stir, adding another tablespoon olive oil and the grated pecorino. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside so that the flavors will meld.
In the meantime, bring 6 quarts water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package direction, until cooked, but still al dente. Drain well. Add the pasta to the serving bowl and toss to combine.

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