Pesto Pantelleria Style


(“Condimento Pantesco” - “Ammogghiu”)


In the island of Pantelleria the ammogghiu is prepared to accompany grilled or roasted fish and as a spread for bruschetta, toasted sliced bread or for a condiment to pasta.
The Sicilian word ammogghiu  in English means bundle, in fact in this uncooked condiment the ingredients are bound together to form an amalgamated sauce very different in taste and texture to any pesto you ever tasted.
The ingredients can be crushed with a blender or with a mortar and pestle: make sure that all ingredients are well combine and the result will be gratifying.




  • 3 tomatoes (about ½ lb.)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 10 leaves of basil
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • pinch of oregano
  • red crushed pepper or fresh hot peperoncino
  • salt and pepper to taste



To Make the Ammogghiu

In a 6 quart sauce pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.
Rinse the tomatoes and a few at a time plunge them into the boiling water for a minute, then in cold water. Remove skin and most of the seeds, cut into pieces and place in a bowl. With the help of a fork mash the tomato to the consistency of a mush.

Using a food processor or a mortar and pestle, crush and blend the garlic, basil, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and the red pepper or peperoncino, to a creamy consistency.
Mix to crushed tomato and blend well.
Serve on top of roasted or grilled fish to enhance and bring out its flavor, or for any use you can adapt this delicious and refreshing sauce.

To use as a condiment for 1 lb. of pasta, double the ingredients.

It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days, but it is preferable to use it the same day that it is made.