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Busiate alla Trapanese recipe

busiata/ pesto/ trapanese

Busiate alla Trapanese recipe

May 30, 2024 By Sol Deli

Pesto alla Trapanese, known as "pasta cull’agghia" in Sicilian dialect, is a popular first course not only in Trapani but across western Sicily. This raw pasta condiment is particularly favored during the hot days of Sicilian summers.

Its ingredients — garlic, tomato, extra virgin olive oil, toasted almonds, salt, basil, and pecorino cheese — are carefully combined to create a flavorful ensemble.

This dish, deeply intertwined with the region and its inhabitants, symbolizes a cultural identity steeped in history. Trapani's busiata pasta, with its unique shape, epitomizes the essence of Sicilian cuisine, offering a culinary experience that celebrates the region's diverse cultural heritage.

What is busiata?

Busiate alla Trapanese, the pasta traditionally paired with this pesto, possesses a helical shape that aptly holds the rich condiments. Its porous texture ensures a delightful fusion of flavors, making it an ideal match for fish-based or tomato-based sauces, especially the renowned Pesto alla Trapanese.

Now, let's see the recipe!


500 g long or short busiate pasta
500 g fresh ripe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
1 small handful of basil leaves
80 g blanched almonds
100 g pecorino cheese, grated
2 peeled garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste and for pasta
black pepper to taste
80 g breadcrumbs for serving


approx. 180 g Pesto alla Trapanese, Antica Bottega Siciliana (for 250 g dry pasta)

INSTRUCTIONS (if using raw ingredients)

1. Start by preparing tomatoes. Cut an 'x' into the top of each tomato. Put them in a bowl of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the water, let the tomatoes cool enough to handle and then peel them. Cut them in half or quarters and remove the seeds.

2. Dry fry the almonds on a low heat to toast them. Be careful not to let them burn.
Put toasted almonds, a pinch of salt and the peeled garlic cloves into a blender or food processor with a little olive oil and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs.

3. Add the basil leaves and more oil if necessary. Pulse in short bursts to prevent basil from spoiling. Add the tomato halves and half the grated pecorino cheese and pulse a few times more until you have a rough creamy consistency.
Add pepper to taste and a little more olive oil if the sauce seems dry or more cheese if it seems too liquidy.

4. Leave the pesto to stand for 30 minutes before using to allow the flavour to develop (or keep it in the fridge covered with cling film until ready to use)

5. In the meantime, boil a pan of water for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

6. While the pasta is cooking dry fry the breadcrumbs to toast them. Be careful not to burn them.

7. When the pasta is ready, save a cup of the cooking water and drain.

8. Return the pasta to the pan, add the pesto and mix everything together well over a low heat for a minute. If the sauce seems dry add some of the pasta cooking water.

Serve immediately sprinkled with breadcrumbs or if you prefer, more grated pecorino.

Buon appetito!