Monday, October 27, 2014

Spicy Sicilian Pesto with Pasta Served with Lagaria Pinot Grigio

By: The Food Hunter

Mario Batali's Spicy Sicilian Pesto is an authentic Southern Italian condiment perfect for mixing with all shapes of pasta. Flavored with chiles, almonds and fennel seeds it has a distinctive spicy taste that I love.

The pesto can be made ahead and refrigerated topped with olive oil, in a container with a tight fitting lid; making this yet another quick weeknight dinner option. 

Wine Recommendation:

Try it with Lagaria Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC this Lagaria Pinot Grigio is made with 100% Pinot grigio grapes from selected vineyards of the Venezie area, which comprises Trentino, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Its pleasant floral and fruity aromas of apple, apricot and pear and its refreshing acidity are ideal to pair with this dish.

Pasta with Spicy Sicilian Pesto
(Adapted from Mario Batali)
(printable recipe)

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoon crushded red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino
1  pound pasta

Bring 8 quarts water to a boil in large pasta pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water. Drop the pasta into the water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate. Reserve 1/4 cup of water.

Place the basil, mint, garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and almonds in a food processor and pulse three times to start the chopping process. Add the oil in a thin stream and pulse four or five times to create a thick paste (not a thin, oily sauce). Add 1/4 cup of the cheese and pulse once to mix it in. Season with salt if needed.

Drain the pasta in a colander, and put in a large bowl. Toss it gently with the pesto and reserved pasta water until the pasta is nicely coated. Serve with remaining cheese.


  1. I think I still have some basil in the garden.... hmmmm......

  2. I love how you made this spicy! Great easy dinner!

  3. I love Italian cooking for this very reason. Easy, hearty, and PACKED with flavor! I am pinning this little gem for sure!

  4. Wow this looks great. Will definitely put this in the rotation!

  5. Love pesto and this looks delicious.

  6. Thats a lot of yummy flavors going on! Love this!

  7. Yum! That looks so delicious and love the flavors!

  8. Wow! Mint and fennel...this sounds fantastic, and a pleasant diversion from the typical pesto.

  9. I love the spice addition. This is a must when the weather is cold :-)

  10. I love pesto. I always get lazy when it comes time to make my own but I know it's so easy and it's totally worth it! This looks like a great combo.

  11. You've won my heart and soul with this dish!!!!!