Pasta with Salsa Trapanese
- TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
Justin Smillie makes his Trapanese sauce (a tomato-nut pesto) with mint and buttery, fried Spanish marcona almonds. “I’m a sucker for marconas,” he says. He loves the toasty flavor they lend to the pasta sauce.
- 1 pound tomatoes, cored
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 cup marcona almonds
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 dried red chiles, seeded and chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate or bucatini
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate and let cool completely, then coarsely chop them.
- In a medium skillet, toast the almonds over moderate heat, tossing, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a food processor and let cool completely. Add the capers, garlic and chiles and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pulse to form a coarse puree; season the tomato pesto with salt and pepper.
- In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the tomato pesto, mint, the 1/4 cup of grated cheese and the reserved cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve, passing additional cheese at the table.
Lively, medium-bodied Italian red.