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Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto: A flavor-packed pasta dish ready in under 30 minutes

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Don't forget to check out our homemade Vincisgrassi for more ideas at home.

Recently it has been pouring heavy rain in Hong Kong, and many people are not able to travel outside of their homes to find a comfy Italian restaurant to get their pasta. So in case you are looking for a pasta dish that can be made in the comfort of your home as well as easy to make, look no further. Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto is a pasta dish full of flavor as well as nutrients that not only will fill your stomach but is an overall healthy dish for you and your whole family.

What is Rigatoni?

Rigatoni is pasta that is hollow in the middle, has a big size to itself, and has quite a bit of similarity to that of the penne. Rigatoni comes from the word "Rigato" which in Italian means lined and is also very well associated with the southern and the northern of Italy. Back in the old days Rigatoni was very much used by the Italian families in the Sicilian region. It's still not exactly sure where the Rigatoni was invented but was very widely used in the southern region of Italy.

What is Sicilian Pesto?

Sicilian Pesto is a sauce developed by the fuse of both the Mediterranean and the Sicilian region of Italy flavors. It has a slightly distinct flavor from the Genovese pesto sauce due to it being a mixture of basil, cherry tomatoes roasted almonds, and cheese while the traditional Genovese pesto sauce is made from basil, pecorino, roasted pine nuts, and garlic. Both the pesto sauce can also very well work as a topping for bruschetta, crostini, and pasta. These are the following characteristics of the Sicilian pesto sauce:

  1. Vibrant and Tangy: The flavor of this pesto sauce is very tangy in nature due to the acidity of tomatoes and has a vibrant nature because of the addition of basil leaves to it.

2. Depth of taste: The addition of almond's sweetness and saltiness of cheese gives it a depth in flavor and taste of the dish.

3 Creamy texture: The tomatoes allow the sauce to bring in a creamy texture, thus helping the pasta to cling on together.

Ingredients for making Sicilian pesto sauce

The ingredients required to make Sicilian pesto:

  • 2 cups uncooked rigatoni

  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 lb. fresh tomatoes, such as off the vine

  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Prepare Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto:

Rigatoni with Sicilian pesto sauce

  1. Cook Rigatoni according to the instructions on the packet until al dente.

  2. While the Rigatoni is cooking, start making your Sicilian pesto sauce on the side. In a food processor add the components that are the basil leaves, pecorino cheese, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and almonds. Pulse it until smooth in texture.

  3. Season the sauce with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Reserve the 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce and drain the rest.

  5. Add the Sicilian pesto sauce on the pot and if it seems a bit too thick add a bit of the removed pasta water into it to thin it out.

  6. Finally, serve the rigatoni Sicilian Pesto hot on a plate and garnish it with more pecorino cheese and some fresh basil leaves.

This is an easy recipe to make at home for your family in under 30 minutes. The flavor of almonds, pecorino cheese, basil leaves, and cherry tomatoes give the sauce a very vibrant flavor overall making it an enjoyable, healthy, and nutritional meal for everyone at home.

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