Pesto Trapanese (Tomato Pesto)

On the left a photo of the finished Pesto Trapanese dish and on the right the ingredients and pasta drying. @intothesauce, Into the Sauce, Tori Falzon, #intothesauce

I can’t get enough of tomato pesto and it truly is the szn for it! Pesto Trapanese is a Sicilian pesto (while pesto with basil, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan is Ligurian pesto, which we all know and love). Here’s my version of Trapanese, which is so delightful tossed in a bowl with some al dente pasta (or ricotta ravioli like I did). Also delicious with meat, fish, as a dip, with gnocchi, or spread on a sandwich.


  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Sea salt
  • 1 bunch of basil (40-50g picked leaves)
  • 80g pine nuts, toasted
  • 200g tomatoes/cherry tomatoes (I did a mixture of both. If you use large tomatoes be sure to blanch, refresh and peel the skins off)
  • 60g pecorino, finely grated
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. In a mortar and pestle*, crush the garlic with a pinch of sea salt, then add the basil leaves bit by bit to make a paste.
  2. Remove basil and garlic to a bowl, and crush the pine nuts until some are crushing into a paste, whilst some are still chunky (I love having some semi whole for the varied texture).
  3. Add in the tomatoes, bit by bit, then add back the basil and slowly mix in the olive oil.
  4. Finish by mixing in the cheese and lemon juice, taste and season, stir through pasta and serve.

*You can also make this in a food processor but you’ll have less control over the chunkiness of the tomatoes and pine nuts, as well as the fine basil. Food processor obviously wins in terms of ease and both will give you a very tasty result, just be careful not to take it too far. 

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