Or at least that’s what the luminous photo next to the dish showed. And for some reason, after admiring that photo and quickly scanning the list of ingredients, I ran off to
make the dish without, well, actually reading the recipe itself.
It was, however, as spectacular as I expected: the sweet bursts of tomato, like half-melted rubies clinging to the hot pasta, the toasty crunch of almonds, the peppery slick of
olive oil, and the ribbons of spicy mint, which is so unexpectedly sublime with tomato and garlic, so clean and fresh and bracing, I might never touch a sprig of basil in their
Unfortunately it was also wrong, as I discovered after I’d made the sauce this way two or three times. Don’t ask me what the photographer was smoking, but the instruction was
clear as day in the recipe, when I actually bothered to read it: grind everything to a paste in a mortar.
Oops. But by then it was too late; I had fallen so in love with my accidental version and its rustic, toothsome chunks that I simply couldn’t fathom doing it any other way. And
since it’s the version I love, it’s the version I’m giving you—though to nip any confusion in the bud I’ve changed the name from ‘pesto’ to to the more generic ‘salsa’.
Even if you’re a fan of the original I urge you to give this one a try; though I should warn you, you may soon find yourself trying to sneak tomatoes, almonds and mint into
nearly everything you eat. Not that this qualifies as a problem in my book.
I just hope the good people of Trapani will forgive me for my freewheeling approach to their gastronomic heritage. And I hope you, dear readers, will forgive me for another
stretch of silence around here. On the bright side, a belly full of spaghetti should tide you over nicely.
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