A taste of the med: Bucatini with Sicilian pesto 

A taste of the med: Bucatini with Sicilian pesto

Mint makes a sparkling change from basil in this delicate pesto. Use any pasta shape, though I love bucatini (like macaroni in long spaghetti form). Just as good eaten when the pasta has cooled as when it is hot.

SERVES 4

6 very ripe plum or vine tomatoes (about 500g)

30g mint leaves

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled

50g toasted almonds (whole or flaked)

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

1 tbsp lemon juice

400g bucatini

freshly grated pecorino

To skin the tomatoes, bring a medium pan of water to the boil. Cut out a cone from the top of each tomato to remove the core, plunge them into the boiling water for about 20 seconds or until the skins start to split, then transfer them to a large bowl of cold water. Slip off the skins and dice the tomato flesh quite finely, about 1cm, then scoop everything into a large bowl, season with salt and set aside.Whiz the mint, garlic and almonds to a sticky paste in a food processor. Add the oil and lemon juice to the tomatoes, then stir in the mint mixture.Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions until just tender, then drain using a colander. Add to the bowl with the pesto and toss to coat. Divide between plates, scatter with plenty of pecorino and drizzle over some more oil.

GET AHEAD The pesto is at its best freshly made, but it can also be prepared well in advance on the day. In this case, cover and chill it then bring back to room temperature to serve.