With its peninsula gently curving into the Tyrrhenian Sea, Trapani’s sickle-like shape birthed various myths as to its origin. Some say that Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, dropped her sickle while she searched for her daughter Persephone. Others believe that after defeating his father Uranus, Saturn threw the sickle used in combat into the Tyrrhenian Sea. In both instances, where the sickle fell, Trapani now lies.
Trapani has a long and rich history to explore in the port-city’s old town center. Adorned by wooden mills that turn lazily in the confluence of the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Sea breeze, Trapani is world renowned for its hand-harvested pure sea salt, tonnare (tuna fishing plants), pesto alla trapanese, its delicious tightly wound busiate pasta shape, and of course its striking rendition of the Sicilian staple: pasta with nero di seppia (cuttlefish ink). Used historically as pen ink, cuttlefish produce a more viscous, dark ink than its cousin the squid, and lends an earthy, savory, and oceanic flavor to pasta. Native to the warm Mediterranean waters, Sicilian coastal towns such as Trapani are famous for the unique and beautiful dish.
Marrying the flavors of the land and sea, this earthy, nutty and bright pesto, woodsy wild foraged mushroom, and savory nero di seppia busiate is filled with umami depth. Serve with a chilled bottle of Alcamo Bianco.
NERO DI SEPPIA BUSIATE WITH KALE PESTO AND SAUTEED PORCINI MUSHROOMS
▢ 1/2 Bag Seppia Ink Busiate
▢ 1 bunch Lacinato Kale
▢ 1 clove garlic
▢ 1/2 cup Genco Almonds, toasted
▢ 1/4 cup fresh basil
▢ Pinch Sicilian Chili Pepper Flakes
▢ Zest and juice of 1 lemon
▢ 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
▢ 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more to serve
▢ 1 Pack Porcini Mushrooms
▢ 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
▢ Salt and pepper
- Start by rehydrating the Porcini Mushrooms. Place the dehydrated mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
- Next, make the pesto. Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt. Strip the kale leaves from the stems, and blanch the leaves. Drain completely and gently squeeze out any excess water. Allow to cool completely. Discard the stems or save in the freezer for stock.
- Place the blanched kale, toasted almonds, basil, chili, lemon zest and juice, and Parmigiano Reggiano in a blender with olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend on low until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook the Busiate until al dente, roughly 9-11 minutes, and drain completely, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.
- Bring a large pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Drain the Porcini mushrooms, and sauté them seasoned with salt and pepper, stirring infrequently to let the mushrooms brown.
- Once the mushrooms have browned, roughly 7 minutes, add the pasta with pesto and a splash of pasta water and stir to combine. Once the noodles are evenly coated with pesto, remove from heat and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.