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Busiati with Pesto Trapanese

Busiati With Pesto Trapanese

  The tomato love continues — Here’s yet another way to use up some of those tomatoes ripening by the bushel in your garden. For those of you without your own vegetable gardens, get yourself to a farmer’s market or roadside stand to buy some, because this recipe is not only delicious, but fast and easy to prepare. A food processor is all you need – no cooking required, except for dropping the pasta into boiling water (and when Italians are ready to boil the pasta, they say “butta la pasta” which literally means “throw the pasta”).

In this case, I used busiati, a long, twisty, corkscrew-like pasta, but if you can’t find it, use fusilli.

Busiati is the traditional pasta shape that’s used with pesto Trapanese, a sauce that hails from Trapani, a city on the western coast of Sicily. The origins of the dish are unclear. Some say it was inspired by pesto Genovese, from Ligurian sailors who were stopping off at Trapani’s port. Others claim it’s derived from Liguria’s agliata, a pasta dish using only olive oil, garlic, walnuts and tomatoes.

Whatever its origin, it’s now become part of my summertime repertoire when tomatoes are plentiful and at their peak.
Here are the cast of characters for this dish: cherry tomatoes (you can use plum or heirloom or any type, really), extra virgin olive oil, whole almonds, garlic, salt, basil, and red hot pepper flakes. I used parmesan cheese but you could also use pecorino cheese.
Keep some of that hot pasta water handy in case you want to thin out the sauce.
My favorite way to eat this dish is hot, although it tastes good lukewarm or cold too.
Everything gets thrown into a blender and whirred until it’s creamy. It may not be the most attractive looking pesto, but it sure tastes great.


The sauce is also delicious on broiled or baked chicken or fish, or vegetables, or even as a spread on sandwiches.

But first try it on pasta. I’ll bet it becomes one of your favorite summer meals.

Ciao Chow Linda is also on Instagram, as well as Facebook and Pinterest. Click here to connect with me on Facebook, here for my Pinterest page, and here for my Instagram page to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.
And if you live in the Central N.J. area, join me this Saturday, August 29 at 11 a.m. at the West Windsor Farmer’s Market, when I’ll be on a panel discussion with other food writers and photographers, including Rome-based Katie Parla and NJ Monthly columnist Pat Tanner.

Pesto Trapanese
From Lidia’s Italy
printable recipe here
¾ pound cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
12 leaves fresh basil
⅓ cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
¼ teaspoon peperoncino
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pasta
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat dry.

Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl followed by the garlic clove, the almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine purée; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.

With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the purée into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you’re going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but let it return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.)

To cook the spaghetti, heat 6 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon salt to the boil in the large pot. Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl.

Cook the pasta al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over, and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. il pesto alla trapanese è uno dei miei condimenti preferiti, l'ho mangiato due anni fa proprio nella zona di Trapani, una delizia ! Buon weekend Linda !

  2. I love that pasta, I don't think I've seen it here, I'll have to really look good next time I'm shopping. The sauce sounds amazing and I love how you put it on a sandwich, you're so clever!

  3. Il pesto alla trapanese è anche uno dei miei condimenti preferiti. E sono anche qui su Blogspot con CMRicette e con CMFoodAnd, se volessi seguirmi su Blogger. Ma sono anche su altre reti sociali.

  4. Love it! Love it! Love it! From the sauce to the pasta. Your cherry tomatoes looks like our Jack in the beanstalk tomatoes. I really think I was a hound dog in my former life because I'm always on a search — now it's this pasta. I think it is fantastic. I like the idea that you toasted the nuts — so much better for the flavor. Yum!! Can't wait to try this. Gracie!

  5. I always love learning about any new pasta shapes and the stories behind the them. And now you have taught me about busiati from Italy! I've never seen this pasta in any American retailer (online or brick and mortar store, so I am delighted to know that a new pasta treat awaits me to take home with me during our next trip to Italy. Thank YOU Linda!

  6. I have the sweetest cherry tomatoes – coming at me at a rate of a bushel a day. This will be a fun way to use them. I've seen that gnarly fun pasta but not sure I can get it here. Love the possible origins of the sauce!

  7. Pesto alla trapanese is one of my favorites—but now that I see this, I remember that summer's almost over and I haven't made it even once this year. I'll have to rectify that TODAY. I'm intrigued to see that busiati can be bought commercially here in the US. Where did you find it?

  8. Pesto alla Trapanese sounds divine, Linda! I have not been eating carbs since I returned from my trip to NY as V's family, and mine, fed us too well–lol–but if I can manage to lose a few pounds I'll try this. The pasta you used reminds me of what V's Calabrian relatives made for us in Italy–they used knitting needles to shape the pasta dough that way!

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