I have never been shy about my love for Sicily: the landscape, the weather, the food… what’s not to like?
I have been lucky enough to have spent quite a long time of my adult life in this beautiful island, enjoying what it can offer in all her magnificence.
Sicily is warm: from the sun kissing your skin even when it is so cold that you can see your breath, to the friendly neighbour that puts on the big moka to bring you a cup of espresso. And then there is the sea, hugging this incredible island and becoming part of people’s lives, like that old friend you can always count on. The markets, filled with the smell of oranges and spices, the constant chatting – “did you speak to your mother in law since the argument during Christmas dinner?”, “do you roast the pine nuts for the sardines beccafico?”, “have you watched the last episode of Montalbano?”, Sicily is that place that you might hate on your first day there, and then become your paradise.
Speaking of which, I believe this quote from Federico II, King of Sicily, perfectly summarise how it feels like living in Sicily:
“I do not envy God’s paradise because I am so satisfied to live in Sicily.”
He does have a point.
And if we think about food, Sicily truly is a paradise: from the sweet fruits to the fresh fish, this island offers an incredible range of fresh produce that just makes you want to explore more, have more, enjoy more.
Each family has their own version of the most traditional dishes, and these recipes have been passed from generation to generation for ages! Obviously, they are all secret unless you are part of the family.
The concept of family is not necessarily related to blood: close friends are always considered part of the family, to the point that you get to call your parent’s closest friends “uncle” or “auntie”.
One of my “aunties” recently moved back to her hometown, Trapani – a stunning city in Western Sicily. As it is not possible to travel at the moment, I was doing some research about Trapani, hoping to visit it as soon as possible.
During my research, I came across a beautiful pasta shape that I immediately fell in love with – busiate.
Busiate are a traditional pasta shape originating in Trapani allegedly more than 1000 years ago. There are two theories behind their creation: one is that their name derives from buso, a knitting needle used for wool and cotton; the other theory is that Busiate comes from the word “busa”, the Sicilian word for the stem of a local grass called disa, which is used during the preparation of this pasta to give it its peculiar shape.
Here is a video showing how to make busiate pasta (the dough is simply made with semolina flour and water):
Usually, busiate are eaten with pesto alla trapanese: a beautiful sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, almonds, basil and pecorino cheese – the best produce of this sunny, enchanted city.