Creamy Tomato Pesto with Gnocchi
I’m a huge fan of pesto. There’s just something so satisfying about the herbacious flavor, the punch of garlic and the crunch of toasted nuts. And while my idea of pesto is usually a bright version of a classic Italian Pesto alla Genovese (like the one here), I’m always intrigued by other varieties, like this brilliant Creamy Tomato Pesto.
This pesto recipe comes from some serious inspiration from Chris Kimball’s new Milk Street cookbook. He has a recipe for Trapani Pesto that caught my eye upon first flipping through the book when I got it for Christmas. Trapani Pesto is a Sicilian version of the normal basil pesto from Genova that we know and love—it just adds grape tomatoes and a hefty portion of toasted almonds.
On a cold Sunday afternoon, we were looking for a kitchen project. We decided to make Smitten Kitchen’s Gnocchi with a Grater. If you’ve ever thought about making gnocchi but were scared (or you don’t have a ricer or food mill—who does?!), you’ve gotta try these! They’re super easy, they don’t require anything other than a grater, and they come out like a dream.
Luke prefers gnocchi with a creamier sauce (who can blame him?!), so we took the Trapani Pesto recipe and whipped up a creamy version of it to bathe those gnocchi pillows in. It’s super simple, with just 2 minutes of prep using the food processor, then about 15 minutes to build the creamy sauce—a yummy alternative to a favorite!
I usually drizzle/spread/dollop my classic pesto on everything from Broccoli Melts to Chickpea Crepes to Savory French Toast. And I’m pretty sure this Tomato Version would be great with any of those too!
Adapted from the Trapani Pesto recipe from Milk Street
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoon flour
- kosher salt
- 1 lb gnocchi or pasta of your choice
Toast almonds in 400º F oven until just browned. Cook the pasta or gnocchi according to package directions.
In a food processor, add the toasted almonds, garlic and pepper flakes. Pulse until coarsely ground. Add the tomatoes, basil and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse until chunky.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir together. Cook for 1 minute to release the flour taste, then slowly add in the milk. Let cook for 5 minutes over medium heat and slightly bubbling to thicken a bit. Add in the Parmesan and stir to combine. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes until well thickened.
Pour in the contents of the food processor and cook for 5 minutes. Add in cooked pasta or gnocchi. Serve with extra Parmesan, if desired.