Paccheri with Anna Santoro's Pesto Trapanese
A recipe from Lidia Bastianich that's made with ripe cherry tomatoes, plump garlic, and small shrimp. Though it's often said that seafood and cheese don't mix in Italian dishes, she tops this recipe with freshly grated Grana Padano.
- 2 1/2 cups very ripe cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
- 1/3 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
- 12 fresh whole basil leaves
- 1 plump garlic clove, crushed and peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon pepperoncini flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus salt for cooking pasta
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 pound paccheri pasta
- 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup grated fresh Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
To the bowl of a food processor or blender jar, add the tomatoes, almonds, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, and salt. Purée, scraping down the sides. With the machine running, stream in the oil, emulsifying the purée into a thick pesto. Adjust the seasoning.
Cook the paccheri according to the package directions.
When the pasta is al dente, add the shrimp, stir, and turn off the heat. Let stand for 1 minute. Drain the paccheri, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta and shrimp to the pot and fold in the pesto until all the pasta is coated with the pesto. Optionally, drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil and some of the reserved pasta water, if needed. Sprinkle with the cheese and toss. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.