Spain on a Fork > All Recipes > Main Dishes > The Greatest Pasta Dish from Italy | Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto
All Recipes, Main Dishes / January 12, 2022

The Greatest Pasta Dish from Italy | Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto

This Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto, is packed with flavors, easy to make and done in under 30 minutes. The perfect pasta dish for a busy weeknight dinner or a relaxed weekend lunch, next to a spinach salad and a bottle of Spanish wine.

Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto
The reason why I consider this the greatest pasta dish from Italy is the sicilian pesto. Known as Pesto Alla Trapanese. It´s made with just almonds, garlic, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil, but it truly has the most incredible textures & flavors.

Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto
For the pesto, I used tomatoes off the vine. But you can also use plum tomatoes or even cherry tomatoes. For the pasta I used rigatoni, but you can use any pasta you like. Though I do recommend using thicker cut pastas, such as penne or fusilli, as the sauce clings on better.

Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: I added some Spanish Manchego cheese that was aged for 6 months into the pesto. But you can also add in Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano for more of an Italian touch.

Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto

Key Ingredients & Cookware I used in this Recipe:

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Watch the Video Below on How to Make Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto

Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto
5 from 1 vote

Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese)

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 817 kcal
Author Albert Bevia @ Spain on a Fork


  • 2 cups uncooked rigatoni 200 grams
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds 70 grams
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lbs fresh tomatoes, such as off the vine, plum or cherry tomatoes 1/2 kilogram
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves 20 grams
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 60 ml
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese 45 grams
  • pinch sea salt
  • dash black pepper


  1. Fill a stock pot half ways with cold water, season generously with sea salt & heat with a high heat

  2. Meanwhile, heat a small fry pan with a medium heat and add in 1/2 cup raw blanched almonds, mix continuously, after 4 minutes and the almonds are lightly toasted, remove them from the heat and transfer into a bowl so they can slightly cool off

  3. After a couple minutes add the almonds into a food processor, along with 3 cloves of garlic, run on a low speed for 15 to 20 seconds or until the almonds and garlic are finely chopped, then add in 1 lbs tomatoes (cut into quarters), 1 cup basil leaves and season generously with sea salt & black pepper, run the food processor on a low speed until everything is well blended, then slowly add in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil while still running the processor, then run for another 1 to 2 minutes, then add in 1/2 cup grated cheese and run for another 30 seconds, set aside

  4. Once the water comes to a boil on the stock pot, add in 2 cups rigatoni, cook until al dente, reserve a little of the pasta water if you want to thin out your pesto sauce, then drain the pasta into a colander, add the pasta back into the stock pot (heat turned off), pour the pesto sauce over the rigatoni and mix together

  5. Transfer into shallow bowls and garnish with basil leaves, serve at once, enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Get the Extra Virgin Olive Oil I used to make this recipe

Nutrition Facts
Rigatoni with Sicilian Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 817 Calories from Fat 495
% Daily Value*
Fat 55g85%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 30g
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 194mg8%
Potassium 931mg27%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 2680IU54%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 441mg44%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. CY

    5 stars
    Amazing. Made it tonight, will definitely make it again.

    24 . Oct . 2022
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      26 . Oct . 2022
  2. Lisa

    We’d really like to make this dish but don’t have a food processor. I do have an immersion blender. Is it still possible to make this dish?

    20 . Feb . 2022
    • Spain on a Fork

      Yes! Much love 🙂

      21 . Feb . 2022
  3. doris ANN kruis

    Love all your recipes.

    Do you have one for shrimp curry?

    Thank you

    12 . Jan . 2022

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