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How to make Trapani-style pesto: a creamy sauce rich in flavour!

Pesto sauce in the Trapani's style

In some areas of Sicily they call it agghiata, but it is better known as Trapanese pesto: here is the recipe!

Today we are preparing the recipe for Trapanese pesto, a typical sauce from the city of Trapani and all of western Sicily. Its history is ancient, and its name, in fact, is not at all random: it seems that it was the Genoese ships that stopped in the port of Trapani that brought the traditional pesto recipe here, then reworked by the inhabitants with products typical Sicilian foods such as tomato and almonds.

Its delicate and fresh flavor makes it suitable for any type of pasta, especially in summer, but for a 100% Sicilian dish try it with busiate : a typical format of the area that resembles a tagliatelle rolled around the ancient knitting needle , the busio.

Pesto sauce in the Trapani's style
Pesto sauce in the Trapani's style

How to make Trapani-style pesto: the original recipe

To prepare this sauce you would need a mortar, but you can get equally excellent results with a simple food processor or immersion blender.

  1. Before starting, you need to gently and carefully wash the basil leaves and lay them out to dry on a cloth.
  2. Tomatoes must also be washed and peeled carefully. You can do it patiently by hand or follow our guide on how to peel tomatoes . Once this is done, cut them in half and also remove the seeds .
  3. In the meantime, it is advisable to put the chopper blades in the fridge to avoid oxidising the basil during preparation.
  4. Now that all the components of the pesto are ready, all that remains is to start: put the almonds and garlic in the blender and reduce everything into a coarse powder. Remember that Trapanese pesto is not smooth but rather rustic .
  5. Then add the peeled tomatoes, basil and a pinch of salt and blend everything until you obtain a smooth but rustic consistency.
  6. Add the grated cheese and add as much oil as needed to obtain a creamy consistency.

Precisely because of its simplicity, it is also possible to make Trapani-style pesto with the Thermomix . This way you will be sure to obtain a perfect consistency. But what is the best way to enjoy it? Definitely the pasta : consider that the busiate with Trapani-style pesto have been included among the Traditional Sicilian Agri-Food Products .

If you want to try your hand at the mortar, here is a video where you can see all the ingredients of Trapani pesto worked by hand until the right consistency is obtained.


Trapanese pesto can be kept for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator. We remind you that it is best to add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the jar until it completely covers the pesto, this way it will last longer. We do not recommend freezing in the freezer.

Read also
Sicilian pesto

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