Pesto alla Trapanese with Busiate Pasta

Busiate and Pesto alla Trapanese are a match made in heaven. Pesto Trapanese is the Sicilian answer to the Genovese version, a recipe originally brought to Trapani’s port by Ligurian sailors on their way to the East and adapted to use ingredients easier to source on the island: almonds and tomatoes. Busiate is a traditional pasta that also originated in the Trapani area, and its corkscrew-like shape is perfect to catch this silky-and-crunchy pesto. Furthermore, the natural sweetness and nuttiness of the Tumminia flour, the Sicilian ancient grain variety of wheat used to make Molini del Ponte Busiate, pairs marvelously with this recipe, where the richness of the Sicilian almonds is the absolute protagonist.


SERVES: 5 people
TIME: 20 minutes

1 bag of Busiate (500 gr/1.1 lbs)
1 cup of Piennolo tomatoes (about 1/2 jar)
Fresh basil (60 gr/2.1 oz)
Sicilian peeled or unpeeled almonds (100 gr/3.5 oz)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of Chili peppers (or to taste)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano, ricotta salata or pecorino cheese


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Put Piennolo tomatoes, basil, 3/4 of the almonds, garlic, EVOO, sea salt, and chili peppers in a food processor or a mortar. Grind all the ingredients until the almonds reach a medium-fine grind.  Add the remaining almonds at the very end of grinding to allow for bigger pieces.
3. Cook Busiate al dente. Drain, saving 1/3 of a cup of pasta water.
4. Put Busiate and pesto in a serving bowl, add the pasta water and stir until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
5. Serve immediately and finish by grating cheese on each plate.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Adri says:

    Oh, but I do know this pasta, and it is out of this world. It quickly cooks up and delivers a delightful “bite” that is never gummy, something of a surprise in the world of whole grain pasta. This one has it all, history, the grace of an heirloom wheat, flavor, texture, and the unique visual appeal of a member of the fusilli family. Your recipe sounds a lot like mine, but I also top it with some coarse bread crumbs toasted in a nice olive oil from Castelveltrano. Who could ask for more?

    1. Faith Ann Lubitz says:


  2. Deanna says:

    This looks so good. I never thought of using tomatoes in a pesto!

  3. Frankie says:

    Is it dried chili peppers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *