Wednesday, September 7, 2016

bringing a piece of Sicily home with me

Busiati & Pesto Trapanese
Like every year, I need to bring something back from my summer vacation. Usually it's a recipe, something that really impresses me and knocks me out at the first bite. It happens quite often I admit, you know how I am about good food. But when it happens in a way that preoccupies my husband as I get up from the table, swing back the chair and walk straight into the kitchen to meet the chef, well, be sure that will be The Recipe I literally bring home with me. Sacredly stored in the back of my head with hints scribbled in my mind I go home and try it for days until I get as close as I can get to what I ate that day I felt those goosebumps running down my back.

The recipe I'm talking about is busiati pasta with Trapanese pesto. I tried it for the first time this past summer in Sicily. The pasta shape itself is good with many different types of sauces, it twirls and swirls within the sauce and keeps a good al dente texture. It's made with durum wheat flour and water. You can see how I shape the pasta on my instagram by clicking here. The web will show you so much more. Of course you can always go buy them ready made.

But what I really love is the Trapanese pesto, it is totally different from the pesto Genovese yet similar in its preparation. You don't necessarily need to use busiati pasta for this but as they say in Italy, è la morte sua, it's to die forFirst of all, do not use a blender, I know it's much easier but just don't. Get yourself a pestal mortal, I used a wooden one and it came out a charm. Secondly, use fresh in season ingredients. As you know tomatoes grow in the summer, so don't make this at Christmas, you know what I mean. September is a good time because tomatoes are still around and since it's the end of the season you can find really good prices.

So let's get started with this recipe.
 Busiati & Pesto Trapanese
Busiati & Pesto Trapanese
Busiati Pasta with Trapanese Pesto
serves 4 people

500/600 gr pasta busiati

500 gr ripe peeled and deseeded tomatoes, preferably cherry tomatoes.
40 gr peeled raw almonds
150 gr grated pecorino cheese
8 fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
extra virgin olive oil

In a pestal mortal crush the garlic and almonds, then add the basil leaves and grind until you get a rough paste. Add some extra virgin olive oil and you work the paste.  Remove the paste from the mortal into a big wide glass bowl and without rinsing add the peeled tomatoes and crush to get a rough paste. Now add the crushed tomatoes to the bowl with the almond-basil paste.  Add the pecorino cheese. Add more EVO, enough to form a creamy texture, don't overdo it.  Add a pinch of salt and taste.  Add more salt if necessary but keep in mind that the pecorino cheese is already very salty itself. Mix well.

Cook the pasta al dente, drain and add to the bowl that contains the pesto. Quickly mix with a wooden spoon.

Tip: with the use of a knife, cross an X on the bottom of the tomatoes.  Throw them in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute.  Remove from the pot and into a bowl of cold water.  Peel back the skin, it will come off easily.  Keep the water used top blanch the tomatoes, you can cook your pasta in it.