Busiate Fatto a Mano (Handmade Busiate Pasta)
This is one of Sicily’s classic pastas shapes—it owes its name to the BUSA, or knitting needle. This thin spiral is traditionally made by twisting pieces of dough around a thin stalk of hard grass that grows in the wild, but using a knitting needle is more common now. On the west coast of Sicily, busiate is customarily tossed with pesto alla trapanese, an iconic red pesto from the city of Trapani.
1 ½ cups (192 g) of semolina flour, or #00 flour, or a combination of both
1 cup (237 ml) of room temperature water
Note: Italian Doppio Zero (00) flour is milled to various degrees of fineness from 2 (the coarsest) to 000 (the finest.) The number of zeros is unrelated to gluten content. There is 00 flour meant for bread (labeled panifiabile in Italian,) for pizza, and for pasta with gluten levels ranging from 5 to 12 percent.
Make a mound of the flour on a clean surface (such as a counter or bread board) or in a large mixing bowl. Create a hole in the center of the flour and pour in most of the water.
Using your hands, begin incorporating the flour bit by bit. Push some of the flour from the outside of the circle inward until water is absorbed.
Begin to pull the dough together using a circular motion, adding a bit of water if needed, until you create a ball. Knead for 15 minutes until you have a stiff dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.
To make the busiate, pinch off a piece of dough and roll into a long, thin “rope” about the size of a pencil. Cut into equal lengths of about 1½ inches and roll the dough again. Wind the dough around a skewer or chop stick and roll it to flatten the dough. Pull the skewer out gently and lay all the fresh handmade busiate on a flour covered sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining dough and when done, let the busiate dry for a couple of hours.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. Drain gently and toss with pesto alla trapanese or sauce of your choice.
Look for 00 flour at your local Italian grocer or Whole Foods Market.