Pici all’Aglione, a Recipe from Siena

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Pici all'AglionePici all’Aglione is a traditional pasta dish originally from Siena. It is a simple yet scrumptious pasta dish. It can be prepared in a jiffy with fresh and simple easily available ingredients. Although some manufacturer’s label dried pasta as Pici, original Pici is traditionally always made fresh using your hands to roll the pasta: in example, we always make it this way in our culinary lessons. The dried version is a poor cousin to the original version and should be rightly called spaghettone which translates as “fat spaghetti”. Aglione is a variety of garlic which grows wild in the region. You can substitute it with any green, immature variety of garlic. If that is also unavailable you can use half the amount of mature garlic.


The Pici:

All purpose flour (unbleached) 4 cups
Water 1 and ¼ cup
Extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp
Salt a pinch

The sauce:

Ripe tomatoes (large) 6
Green garlic (approximately 6 cloves) 1 small head
Dried red chillies 2
Flat leaf parsley ¼ cup
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Making the fresh Pici

Take a wooden board and put the flour on it. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Now add the water one tablespoon of olive oil and the salt in the centre. Use your hands to work the flour into the liquid mixture and knead till you get a homogenous and smooth texture. Cut the dough into small bits. Use the palm of your hand roll these bits into long and round strings. When the strings are thinner they are considered equivalent to being better pici. This technique or method is called piciare.

Making the sauce

Coarsely chop the tomatoes and red chillies, finely chop the parsley and thinly slice the garlic. Take a saucepan and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, garlic, parsley and dried chillies and cook over medium heat. Simmer the mixture till the garlic is very tender. Remember that mature garlic takes longer time to become tender. Keep this mixture warm.
Meanwhile take a large pot of salted boiling water and add the fresh Pici. Cook for about eight minutes till it reaches the al dente stage. Drain out the excess water. Take a warm serving bowl and toss the cooked Pici with the warm sauce. Serve immediately.


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