Fall is here, and already I’m unimpressed because I feel like it’s been nothing but grey and cloudy days since the Equinox. And now we’re expected to get buckets of rain for the next four days or so! How are we supposed to enjoy all of those fall things that are so amazing people start yearning for them at the beginning of summer if we all have to be cloistered up inside?
It’s nonsense, is what it is.
Well, if I can’t actually experience warm, sunny skies right now I can pretend to go somewhere that probably does have that weather. My mother-in-law was in Sicily a few weeks ago, and while she was away in a pique of envy I pulled out my copy of Made in Sicily to pick something amazing and seasonal to make over that weekend. Pesto trapanese was a given since we’re still in Peak Tomato, but when looking through the pasta recipe that went along with it I decided that it was the perfect excuse to try out making semolina pasta at home. The Teet actually carries semolina flour in their store and I bought some a while ago thinking that I would figure out some way to use it, and all I needed for this was to order some 00 flour which is readily available on Amazon.
Unlike a regular fresh pasta dough, this one doesn’t require nearly as much fat or as much liquid to bring it together, and as a result it’s actually a little easier to make if you have a stand mixer. You just combine everything in the bowl, mix it for a few minutes to bring together a dough, and then let that dough rest for about 20 minutes before rolling it out on a large flat surface and start forming the pasta. What’s really nice is that you don’t even need to pull out the pasta machine to work the dough, so one person can handle this from beginning to end in just over an hour or so.
And when part of a whole spread including simple tomato salad and pork meatballs, well, it may not be Sicily, but it isn’t too shabby at all.
Busiate with pesto trapanese
adapted from Made in Sicily by Giorgio Locatelli
Yields roughly a pound of pasta
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1/2 cup plus a tablespoon of 00 flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 extra-large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 recipe pesto trapanese (found here)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the pasta ingredients along with 3 ounces of filtered water and mix it with the paddle attachment until a dough starts to come together. Take it out and form into a ball and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Have two half-sheets either dusted with flour or lined with silicone mats. Dust a clean counter space or tabletop with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/8 inch wide. (Mine resembled more of a blob, so when I cut out longer strips I also cut those in half). Cut them lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips. Using a long chopstick or skewer, carefully form a spiral with each piece and use the skewer or chopstick to slightly bend the dough to maintain its shape, and then deposit onto the baking sheet. Keep repeating until all of the dough is used, and let them air-dry for at least an hour to help them firm up.
When cooking the pasta, bring a large pot of water to boil, season with kosher salt, and then cook for about five minutes before draining. Toss with the pesto trapenese and serve immediately.