Fresh pasta alla trapanese

Busiate and Gnocculi

It was back in the Middle Ages, when Sicily began to produce its own pasta. Fresh or dry, pasta has always played a dominant role on Sicilian dinner tables and, just as is typical for every single region of Italy, Sicily has always created its own unique pasta shapes. Within the Trapani area, fresh pasta is known by two names: busiate and gnocculi. Both these shapes are made of durum wheat flour, the same kind which characterizes the entire Sicilian production of both bread and pasta. Both busiate and gnocculi have a very meaty texture, due to the grainy texture of the flour itself. The busiate belong to the group of the long pasta shapes, dating back to the XIII century, and possibly even earlier. Their name derives from the busa, a local term to indicate the knitting needles, which are, in fact, used in the preparation of this pasta shape. The dough is made into strips, and is then kneaded by hand into long ribbons. The busa is then inserted into each ribbon, which will wrap around it, and eventually form a spiral, the length of which varies between 5 and 10 cm. The favourite pasta sauce for the busiate is the Trapanese pesto (tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic), but they go very well with a simple tomato passata, or with “a muddrica atturrata”, an extremely simple sauce made with bread crumbs sauteed in a frying pan with olive oil and anchovy. The bread crumbs are then sprinkled on top of the pasta.If the busiate are more easily found in restaurants or in a gastronomic setting, the most typical homemade pasta is the gnocculi. Its very simple preparation process, along with its short shape, suggests that the gnocculi is of far more common use than the busiate. How to make it? It could not be easier. Separate the dough into small strips, then press them in the centre with your fingertips. The result is a short pasta shape, which will go well with just about every sauce.

By Un Mare di Blu|Cooking, Food, Tourism|0 comment

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