Pici – A Traditional Tuscan Recipe
Pici is the name of the local, incredibly delicious pasta of the area around Montalcino. In the town itself, according to Isabella Dusi, it is called “pinci” and served often and proudly. Pici is nearly always served with a meat-based sauce that includes tomatoes. Any good quality sauce and almost any meat will do. It is the flavor and the texture of this hearty pasta that counts. Enjoy our recipe as we enjoy making it in our culinary classes!
There are really only three ingredients involved in making Pici. They are flour, salt, and water.
2 cups semolina flour (available online and in specialty stores)
2 cups all-purpose flour
Large pinch salt
1 cup tepid water (if more is necessary, add by the tablespoon)
In a large mixing bowl mix both flours and the salt together. Making a well in the center of the flour, add the water slowly, stirring with your hands until a dough is formed. More or less water may be needed; this depends on the humidity levels in your kitchen.
Turning the dough onto a large floured work surface, knead until it is elastic and smooth. This should take up to 10 minutes. Cover the dough with the original mixing bowl and let it rest for about 10 minutes more.
Now comes the fun part: forming this uniquely shaped pasta. Start by rolling all the dough into long rod shapes that are a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Now you can cut these rods into shorter lengths of 4 inches or longer. I find the 4-inch length best for us, because I am unpracticed at the art of making Pici, and longer lengths can become unwieldy.
Place each 4-inch rod between your two hands and roll until you have a very long squiggly length of dough. Place these on a wide tray or cookie sheet that has been dusted with semolina flour, and cover as you go along. I use a dish towel that I’ve dusted very lightly with more flour to cover the formed pici.
You can cook the Pici immediately, or freeze them up to several months. Cook in boiling water as you would any fresh pasta, remembering they will be done quickly as they rise to the top of the pot.
Serve these with any good meat sauce. A sauce of crumbled sausage, tomato, garlic and onion is a fine choice.