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busiate pasta with Trapanese pesto
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5 from 10 votes

Busiate pasta with Trapanese pesto

Pesto Trapanese is a refreshing and delicate pesto from Western Sicily. Perfect for light meals or when you want to make something quick and easy that all the family will enjoy. Serve it with pasta, as a dip or on bruschetta.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Sicilian, Southern Italian
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, busiate pasta, pesto, Sicilian pasta, Sicilian pesto, Trapanese pesto
Servings: 4
Calories: 699kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g long or short busiate pasta (14oz) or fusilli, spaghetti, linguine etc
  • 500 g fresh ripe tomatoes (1.1lbs) I used piccadilly tomatoes.
  • 1 small handful of basil leaves
  • 80 g blanched almonds (3oz)
  • 100 g pecorino cheese (3.5oz) grated
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves (preferrably red garlic)
  • extra virgin olive oil (as required)
  • salt to taste and for pasta
  • black pepper to taste
  • 80 g breadcrumbs (3oz) for serving


  • Start by preparing tomatoes. Cut an 'x' into the top of each tomato. Put them in a bowl of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the water, let the tomatoes cool enough to handle and then peel them. Cut them in half or quarters and remove the seeds. (this will help prevent the sauce from being too liquidy)
  • Dry fry the almonds on a low heat to toast them. Be careful not to let them burn.
  • Put toasted almonds, a pinch of salt and the peeled garlic cloves into a blender or food processor with a little olive oil and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs.
  • Add the basil leaves and more oil if necessary. Pulse in short bursts to prevent basil from spoiling. Add the tomato halves and half the grated pecorino cheese and pulse a few times more until you have a rough creamy consistency.
  • Add pepper to taste and a little more olive oil if the sauce seems dry or more cheese if it seems too liquidy.
  • Leave the pesto to stand for 30 minutes before using to allow the flavour to develop (or keep it in the fridge covered with cling film until ready to use)
  • In the meantime, boil a pan of water for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and when it comes to a boil again cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.
  • While the pasta is cooking dry fry the breadcrumbs to toast them. Be careful not to burn them.
  • When the pasta is ready, save a cup of the cooking water and drain.
  • Return the pasta to the pan, add the pesto and mix everything together well over a low heat for a minute. If the sauce seems dry add some of the pasta cooking water. (I mixed everything together in a bowl instead of the pan)
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with breadcrumbs or if you prefer, more grated pecorino


Traditionally this pesto is served with busiate pasta but you can also use long or short fusilli, spaghetti or linguine, as well as short pasta such as penne. 
You can make this pesto vegan by omitting the cheese and serving with toasted breadcrumbs. Or by using a vegan cheese.