A half teaspoon of red wine vinegar and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes can be substituted for the pepperoncini. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. This can easily be made with a gluten-free pasta if you have an intolerance or just want to cut back on the wheat products.
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 small pepperoncini (hot peppers in vinegar), stemmed, seeded, and minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Table salt
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. pasta, preferably linguine or spaghetti
- Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature.
- Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 30 seconds.
- Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
- Add pesto to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately.