This traditional fresh pasta from the cuisine of Trapani, in the shape of thin tubes wound around each other, is said to have inherited its name from the tool traditionally used to make it.
There are two main etymological theories relating to this traditional pasta shape. The first refers to the “busa”: the stem of Ampelodesmos mauritanicus, known as diss grass, a filiform grass typical of the Mediterranean scrub that farmers traditionally used to tie sheaves of wheat. The second relates to the “buso”, a domestic knitting needle used to knit fabrics such as wool and cotton.
Indeed, to prepare this pasta in the traditional way, the dough is wrapped around a “buso”, giving it its characteristic spiral shape; the busiate are then bronze drawn and dried at low temperatures.
Busiate are therefore characteristically softly twisted and their tubular shape makes them particularly well-suited to holding thick sauces, as demonstrated by the numerous local recipes in which they are used: from pesto alla trapanese used for “busiati cu l’agghia” to fish sauces, with tuna and herbs, swordfish, amberjack, fennel and sardines, variants that are very popular in Favignana.
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