Pasta alla Trapanese


I’ve seen this tasty Sicilian pasta dish with many different variations, but almost all contain almonds along with tomatoes ground into a type of pesto for the sauce. Though I prefer making this dish with fresh, ripe, garden fresh tomatoes, when they are out of season I find a combination of good quality canned tomatoes along with sun-dried tomatoes work well.

Because I had some leftover Sun-Dried Tomato & Chili Pesto in my refrigerator, I used this, but sun-dried tomatoes in oil will work well also. This sauce is also delicious on grilled seafood or chicken as I found using up some leftover Trapanese sauce the next day.

Lightly toasting the almonds first before making the pesto really brings out the almond flavor, so do not be tempted to skip this step. I like to make the sauce a few hours before I need it as the flavor of the sauce improves as it sits. You can use a long pasta such as spaghetti, or a short twisted pasta as I have shown in my photos as both work well with this sauce.


Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Pasta alla Trapanese

Pasta alla Trapanese

Yield: Serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

A Sicilian dish made with a tomato and almond pesto sauce.


  • 1/2 Cup Almonds
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
  • 1 (14 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes (or Sun-Dried Tomato & Chili Pesto)
  • Red Hot Pepper Flakes
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Pound Pasta Of Choice (See Notes Above)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place the almonds on a baking sheet.
  2. Roast just until the almonds begin to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Place the almonds in a food processor along with the garlic, canned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, and olive oil.
  4. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground but not pureed.
  5. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until it is "al dente".
  7. Drain, and toss the pasta with the sauce and grated cheese.
  8. Serve immediately, offering additional cheese at the table.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. As a cook and lover of Italian foods… I love this recipe! Very easy to make, only a few ingredients, and not a lot of prep time! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I make a very similar dish – and it is called Pasta Trapanese! – I actually learned how to make it in Sicily. The only difference is, there were no almonds or sun dried tomatoes in it! I also use San Marzano tomatoes, and don’t blend it – just crush it all by hand in a bowl and let it sit and let the flavors meld. It’s a big summer hit here! So nice to see this here! I love your recipes – very true and authentic!

  3. I have not commented on your site yet. I do it now as a sign of appreciation. You’ve got one of the best food blogs ever. Keep up the good work.

  4. My Trapanese grandmother taught me to make this delicious pasta dish many years ago…
    Did not use Sun Dried tomatoes, but used crushed canned tomatoes. Also topped with toasted breadcrumbs. Everybody loves this dish. Actually when I was taught this recipe I don’t think sun dried tomatoes were even available like they are today…

  5. I was sceptical at first, but this was absolutely wonderful! I used fresh baby rosa tomatoes, and I only had parsley, no basil. I also cooked the garlic in some Olive oil first before adding it to the almond pesto! This was delightful and highly recommended!!! Thank you.

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