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The Best Pesto Recipe (Sicilian-style Pesto)

The better form of pesto


I love big, bold favors. I feel most people usually do...unless you are my 4 year-old kid who prefers to eat unsalted butter straight from the wrapper. Yes, that really happens. For those of us that enjoy a nice balanced dish with great texture, then you may want to look at this recipe. This pesto recipe is one of my personal favorites. It has everything a growing palate needs: sweet, salty, spicy and a good crunch.

I had a dish at a Sicilian restaurant a few years back and it was very similar to this. I loved it so much that I wrote down all the ingredients that I thought was in it. I searched the internet high and low to find there was nothing out there with these ingredients. I stumbled upon one lone similar recipe and learned that this kind of "sauce" was a special take on pesto that the Sicilians make called "pesto alla trapanese". Of course this is the juiced up version and non-traditional. I don't know about you, but standard pesto never really did much for me. Once I discovered this version, I've never looked back. And neither will you...unless of course you are the type of person that eats unsalted butter straight from the wrapper.


Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes


10 ounces of cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted

1⁄2 cup packed basil

1⁄4 cup finely grated parmesan

5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. chopped kalamata olives

2 tbsp. pepperoncini, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped

2 tbsp. golden raisins

3 anchovy filets in oil, drained and chopped or about 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste

1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


For the pesto:

-Place tomatoes in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Pour tomatoes into a fine strainer and drain off excess juices.

-Process tomatoes along with almonds, basil, parmesan, 4 tbsp. oil, raisins, olives, chile flakes, anchovies, garlic, and pepperoncini in a food processor until ground to preferred consistency.

-Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until needed.

To mix in with pasta:

-Boil your pasta as directed on the box, remember to salt the water first.

- Drain pasta and save some of the pasta water (a few tablespoons) and set aside.

-Ladle pesto, pasta water and pasta into a large bowl.

-Fold pasta with pesto until mixed and serve immediately. Serve with grated parmesan

Nutrition contents per serving (pesto only):

Calories- 242

Fat- 21.8 g

Carbs- 9.38 g

Protein- 4.4 g

Fiber- 2.74 g

Sugars- 4.94 g


About the author:

-Kurt Brewer is the Chiropractor/Owner of Synergy Rehabilitation & Chiropractic in Downers Grove, IL. When he is not treating patients, he is raising his daughter, traveling, lifting heavy things and trying to find ways to cook comfort food with a healthy twist. Follow him on Instagram for more pictures and recipes.

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