Saturday, October 31, 2009

Busiati; Pasta Recipe

One of our food highlights was eating busiati with trapanese. Busiati (or busiate I can't tell what's correct) is a special pasta shape found only on the west coast of Sicily; originating in the town of Trapani. Trapanese (its name gives it away as also being from Trapani) is an uncooked, hand pounded sauce of tomatoes, roasted almonds, basil, mint, garlic, and olive oil (link to sauce recipe) that is commonly served with the busiati. We fell in love with the shape for its look and its ability to hold a significant amount of sauce and knew we had to try making it when we got home.

We read that busiati is still being made totally by hand in the region but after having made it at home I really can't see how this is possible. Even after gaining some reasonable proficiency, it takes Tarah and me working together like 30 minutes to form this recipe into busiati, and that's only enough for like 2 to 4 people.

There seem to be a number of different ways of making busiate which you can see many examples of and videos of on the web (I especially like these two video 1 and video 2). But instead of rolling "worms" of pasta dough we simply rolled the dough into fettuccine noodles and wrapped those around a skewer. Also, this is my normal pasta dough recipe but actually buciati is traditionally made with a simple flour water dough. Next time I make them I'll try the traditional methods but for now I just wanted to make an approximation. And I have to say they have been really good.

Pasta Recipe -
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- Olive oil
- healthy pinch of Salt

Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the eggs and ~2 Tbs of olive oil. Mix until it looks like homogeneous bread crumbs. while the mixer is running start adding water. This should only take a couple or few tablespoons. When the dough seems like it's starting to come together let it mix for a while longer and see if it will form a ball. If not add a little more water. Kneed the ball for just a little while then let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into quarters. Roll it out to a #5 on the Atlas pasta roller and cut into fettuccine noodles. Cut these noodles in half so you now have two piles of fettuccine noodles that each represent 1/8th the total recipe and are ~6 inches long. We found a wood skewers to work well for wrapping around. It is important for the pasta to dry for several hours or overnight to ensure that they hold their shapes during cooking. We cooked one batch just after rolling and they almost completely unrolled themselves. The finished dish below is from our Italy trip.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Italy - 2009

Tarah and I had a wonderful month in southern Italy. We combined a one week conference in Castellammare de Stabia (just south of Napoles) with three more weeks making our way down the Amalfi Coast and across Sicily. There were many highlights of the trip but the main highlight (aside from the obvious; being the food) I would say was the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast. I'm a little overwhelmed to just jump in with a run down of the entire trip so I think I'll dole out stories in random order as I feel like writing about them. Here's a link though to our web site where you can see many of the photos.