Sicilian busiate: how to taste this kind of pasta

The first time I tasted the busiate, I was on holiday in Sicily. My parents rented a house in San Vito lo Capo, a beautiful village faced to the sea close to Trapani, and I was 13.

I remember we were in a small restaurant on the beach chatting with some friends, but at the first bite of busiate we all suddenly shut up! Their taste was really delicious.

As you know, each Italian region has its own pasta shape and as Puglia has orecchiette, in Sicily – especially around Trapani – there are the busiate.

How busiate are made

Like other kind of fresh pasta from the south of Italy busiate are made using durum wheat flour and water only: no eggs are used. Although fresh made busiate are the best, you can also find them dried. Anyway, they are thin hollow tubes of pasta formed into ropes and rolled around a ferretto, or thin iron rod, something like a knitting needle. They resemble a telephone cord.

There are two theories about the origin of the name of this pasta. Some say it comes from the word “busa”, a very thin rod of grass that grows on arid soils and was originally believed to be the ‘stick’ that was used to make it. Others believe the name comes from the term “buso”, a thin iron knitting needle which was used to work wool and cotton. However, the most reliable theory is the first one.

The perfect sauce to enjoy the busiate

I have to be honest. There is only one way to taste busiate: with pesto alla trapanese.

Trapani and Genova are both port towns, and interaction between the two has introduced the concept of pesto from Genova to Trapani. The difference between the two is that the Pesto alla Genovese is made with basil and pine nuts, the Trapanese one is made with tomatoes and almonds.

You can prepare busiate with Pesto alla Trapanese at home: find them in our Sicilian Dinner Box.