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Busiate Pasta: Everything About the Shape

Pasta shapes that have ridges are perfect for grabbing onto thick or chunky sauces. Some great examples of this are fusilli, farfalle, and gemelli pasta. But have you heard of busiate? 

Originating in Trapani, a province in western Sicily, busiate is a pasta that resembles a telephone cord or a corkscrew. Traditionally, it is formed by wrapping the pasta dough around busa, the Sicilian word for the stem of a local grass. This is also where they get their name from. 

Sit back, relax, and get cozy while we take a look at what makes busiate a uniquely underrated pasta. 

Busiate: Origin and Meaning

Here’s a table with essential facts about busiate: 

Pasta Shape:Busiate
Pasta Type:Twisted/spiral pasta
Origin:Trapani province, Sicily
Meaning:Name taken from “busa” meaning grass stem
Synonyms:Busiate trapanesi, Maccheroni inferrati
Similar Shapes:Gemelli, fusilli

Where Did Busiate Originate?

Busiate pasta originated in Trapani, a city comfortably nestled on the west coast of Sicily, dating as far back as the 10th century. Back in the day, busiate was formed by wrapping the soft pasta dough around a stem of busa. 

Nowadays, you can recreate this unique pasta shape by using a special pasta tool called a ferretto rod or even a bamboo skewer. When cooked, this pasta acts as the perfect vessel for thick sauces like a creamy alfredo or even a chunky pesto to settle in its nooks and crannies. 

What Does Busiate Mean?

The name busiate comes from the word “busa,” the Sicilian term for the twig or stem of a local grass called Ampelodesmos mauriticanus. This results in a distinct spiral shape that resembles an old-school landline telephone cord. 

What Is the Difference Between Busiate and Fusilli?

The main difference between busiate and fusilli comes from the way they are shaped. Busiate is a flat pasta that’s rolled around a long, thin rod to create an elongated spiral shape. On the other hand, fusilli is created when the pasta dough is extruded into a twisted shape. 

Both busiate and fusilli can be enjoyed in similar ways. Since both pasta shapes are twisted, their ridges allow the pasta to retain its structure even when coated with weighty sauces. 

Traditional Dishes Suitable for Busiate Pasta

Here are some traditional dishes you can make with busiate pasta:

Pesto alla Trapanese

The most traditional way to serve busiate is with Trapanese pesto, a pasta sauce comprised of almonds, garlic, tomatoes, and basil. Also known as Pesto alla Siciliana, this regional pesto dish has a distinct brown hue. 

Seafood Pasta

Busiate can also be served alongside seafood and tomato sauce. Because of its shape, it’s substantial enough to maintain its structure even when paired with strong ingredients like mussels and squid. 

These simple but delicious dishes are just a few ways you can enjoy busiate pasta.  

Final Thoughts 

Busiate pasta is one of Trapani’s best-kept secrets. Because of its ability to be the perfect companion in a lot of dishes, this unique and robust pasta deserves way more recognition than it gets. Whether it’s served alongside a rustic homemade pesto or adding the perfect texture to a fresh pasta salad, busiate pasta is the perfect addition to any meal. 

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