Traditional Homemade Pasta from Italy
This is a delicious pasta dish that comes from this region and you will see it in many restaurants around Monticchiello and Montepulciano; two charming and picturesque towns found in southern Tuscany. The pasta is called ‘pici’, (pronounced peachy) and is a hand rolled pasta that is a bit thicker than spaghetti and very delicious. Weighing of recipes is the ONLY way to go with this recipe. In fact, most Europeans are horrified by the North American ‘cup’ system which is not at all exact!
Serves 8 – 10
1kg 00 flour (180W) *see notes below
15 – 20g olive oil
3g fine salt
700g warm water
Semola flour for dusting the surface and rolling the pici
extra olive oil
Add all the flour into a large metal bowl and make a well.
To the well add the egg, salt, and olive oil.
Use a fork to stir and incorporate a little of the flour at a time.
When it gets to be not enough liquid, add the warm water and stir well to incorporate all the flour.
The dough will be slightly sticky but manageable. You can add a little extra flour if needed.
Dust a clean flat work surface with semola flour and knead the dough for 10 minutes until soft.
Separate the dough into two balls and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
After 1 hour remove the plastic and roll each ball of dough into 1/2 inch thick rectangles.
Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil on the dough and use spread the oil over the dough evenly with the palm of your hand.
Cut 1/2 inch long strips with a sharp knife.
Roll the strips into ‘pici’ pasta (*long and thin) until all the dough has been used. Each piece of pici should be about 4 feet long, which means you will need to keep connecting the dough together. Check out the video below for a short video on how to roll pici pasta.
Place the finished pici onto a floured pan until the rest is finished being rolled.
Boil a large pot of water. Add salt & oil to the water at the start. (*Note for most other pastas – do not add the salt until the pasta is half way cooked).
Cook the pici for 2 minutes only. If it came straight from the fridge, you can cook for 3 minutes.
Serve with your favorite sauce (we had homemade ragu from Francesco), grated fresh pecorino cheese and good drizzle of high quality olive oil.
* A note on freezer/refrigeration: Pici can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days before cooking, or else frozen for 1 month, uncooked.
*The names 00 and 0 Flour refer to specifically Italian milled flour that is used for pasta making. You will find that this is also called Doppio Zero just meaning double zero. The grading system is 2, 1, 0 or 00 and indicates to how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ has been removed. 2 for instance is a wholemeal flour while 00 is the most refined of the three and has the lowest level of bran. It is similar to unbleached all purpose/plain flour, which is a mix of hard and soft wheat, and though while finer, it creates a dough that is silkier and maintains a chewiness when the pasta is cooked.
*The strength of the flour is indicated by the symbol W. W goes from W90 – W400. Flour with a higher W, absorb more water and have a higher content in proteins that help the rising favoring the formation of the gluten network.
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