Sun-dried tomatoes and almond pesto is such a simple, yet mouthwatering condiment, perfect to create a pasta dish filled with rich and intense flavors. By simply rehydrating the sun-dried tomatoes and creating a pesto with almonds, capers, garlic, basil, parsley and good olive oil, one has a delicious spread that can not only be used for pasta, but also for sandwiches and crostini.
In the breathtaking island of Sicily tomatoes known to be filled with intense flavor are plentiful in the summer, and many are dried directly under the hot sun of the Mediterranean coast. Not only tomatoes, but an abundance of almonds grow in the vast orchards commonly seen across this land. Did you know that almonds are a stone fruit?
Inspired by Giulia Scarpaleggia's Instagram post we made our own version of an exquisite and typical southern Italian dish. In the beautiful island of Sicily tomatoes are plentiful in the summer and vast almond orchards are a common sight across this land. Let's get started.
The night before making the pesto soak the almonds in warm water overnight. The next day the skin can be easily removed by gently squeezing and pinching each almond. Dry them and set aside.
Once the oven is pre-heated (356°F - 180°C) place the almonds on a baking sheet or pan, and toast them in the oven until they are lightly golden brown for about 3-4 minutes. Make sure to toss them every 15-20 seconds so as to not over toast them or burn them. They are ready when the almond's oil is released, as they are shiny and begin to change to a light golden color.
In a food processor add the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, basil, capers and toasted almonds.
Drizzle some olive oil into the food processor and pulsate until chunky as shown in the video.
Place the anchovies in the same pan where the almonds were toasted. Heat in the oven until melted. Once the anchovies have melted, add the breadcrumbs, mix with the anchovies and lightly toast. Do not over toast. This should only take about 1-2 minutes. Toss the breadcrumbs in the pan frequently.
Add the tomato mixture to the pan with the breadcrumbs and anchovies. Mix well.
Once the pasta is al dente, strain from the cooking water and add directly to the pan with the breadcrumbs. A second option is to reserve the breadcrumbs for the finished and plated dish and sprinkle on top of the pasta.
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, making sure to always reserve some of the cooking water after straining the pasta. It may be necessary to add a ladle of the cooking water if too dry.
Drizzle the plated dish with good quality olive oil, garnish with some fresh parsley or basil, and this delicious dish is ready to be served immediately. Enjoy!