This deli­cious raw sauce comes from west­ern Sici­ly. It might be far less famous than its broth­er from Gen­o­va but I often pre­fer it to it because of its fresh­ness. Nor­mal­ly it goes with a pas­ta called “busi­ate tra­pane­si”, a kind of twist­ed spaghet­ti, but you can sure­ly use reg­u­lar or “alla chi­tar­ra” spaghet­ti. I learnt this recipe from Vito and Elis­a­bet­ta, two won­der­ful hosts in Sam­bu­ca di Sicil­ia.

Time: 20 min­utes


a hand­ful basil
1 tbsp pecori­no, grat­ed
250 g ripe toma­toes
1/2 clove of gar­lic
50 g almonds
extra vir­gin olive oil
salt and pep­per

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Pre­pare the almonds. If they are not peeled plunge them in boil­ing water briefly, drain and then take the skin off, it will come off very eas­i­ly. Dry them, lay them on a tray and roast them light­ly in the oven. When they are slight­ly gold­en-brown grind them in a mix­er (not too fine).
  3. When the water boils, plunge the toma­toes in for a few sec­onds, take them out and peel them.
  4. Cut the toma­toes in half, take out the seeds and the water then chop them rough­ly.
  5. In a mor­tar or in a hand mix­er mash/mix the basil leaves and the gar­lic, then add the toma­toes. (The toma­toes should be mashed/mixed as well but not com­plete­ly oth­er­wise it will become too liq­uid.)
  6. Mix in the cheese and 3/4 of the almonds. Adjust for salt. Keep the rest of the almonds aside.
  7. Salt the water and cook your pas­ta al dente, then sea­son and serve it with some of the crushed almonds on top.