Tuesdays with Luca - Handrolled Pici
Welcome to the second week of our brand new blog series, Tuesdays with Luca, geared towards all food and wine lovers! Every week, we will be posting a brand new recipe and wine pairing from our very own Chef Luca. If you have ever had lunch at Avignonesi, you know how tasty and thoughtful these pairings are.
This week, we picked out something special for Valentine's Day. We continue with a local favorite, pici! Made in the classic style, the garlic and tomato sauce, called Aglione, is a perfect match for this pasta. This makes a great Valentine's Day recipe because it definitely helps to have a partner to help roll out the pici noodles!
Pici is a thick, hand-rolled pasta, like fat spaghetti. It originates in the province of Siena in Tuscany. The dough is typically made from flour and water only, but egg can be added for extra texture. The dough is rolled out into a thick flat sheet, then cut into strips. The strip of dough is rolled between one palm and the table while the other hand is wrapped with the rest of the strip. It can also be formed by rolling the strip between both your palms. Either method forms a thick pasta, slightly thinner than a common pencil. Unlike spaghetti or macaroni, this pasta is not uniform in size and has variations of thickness along its length. Have fun rolling and don’t be worried about making the pasta look perfect -- It will still taste great!
PICI WITH GARLIC TOMATO SAUCE
For the hand-made pasta:
1,200 grams (5 cups) 00 flour or all-purpose
175 - 250 ml (¾-1 cup) water
1 large egg
extra-virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
For the garlic-tomato sauce:
1 head garlic (7 cloves)
2 peperoncini (dried red chili) - more or less depending on your level of desired spice
480 grams (2 cups) large, very ripe steamed and peeled tomatoes, cut up.
extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
Pour the flour on the board and shape it into a well.
Add the water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt. With your hands, work the flour into the liquid and knead the dough to an elastic and homogeneous texture.
Let it rest for about 30 minutes, covered with a slightly damp dishcloth.
In the meantime, in a large saucepan, fry on medium heat, the chopped garlic and the chili peperoncino in some olive oil, without burning it.
Add the tomatoes and let it cook for 35-40 minutes over low heat.
With the pasta, press down with your hands, pour some oil over it and cut it into strips. Make pici out of each strip, by rolling each one into a long, round string; this technique is actually called “piciare”.
The thinner the pici, the better.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente: when the pici are all floating on the water, it means they are ready. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce, and place in a warmed serving bowl. Serve at once.
Avignonesi Rosso di Montepulciano
The acidity in the Rosso is a great match with tomato sauce and the firm pasta is complemented by the soft, yet strong structure of the wine.
Definitely a spicy finish!