Pici … rustic Tuscan Spaghetti

Pici is a rustic Tuscan spaghetti. All you need is flour, water, olive oil and salt, plus some time to hand roll the pasta. Making pici lends itself to getting your family or friends involved to help with the process. As the saying goes … many hands make light work! Enjoy your home-made pici with our recipe for Pork and Fennel Ragu.

300g plain flour
200g semolina
1 tbsp olive oil
400-450ml water, approximately
pinch salt

Method:

  1. Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the olive oil and about 1/2 of the water and gradually incorporate into the flour in a circular motion using your fingers. Add more water as required to create a dough that is neither dry nor wet.
  2. Tip the dough onto the bench, use a light dusting of flour if needed, and knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until smooth and plump. Wrap in cling film and set aside on the bench for 30 minutes to rest. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
  3. Roll each piece of dough into a rectangle shape about 30cm x 15cm and 1/2 cm thick, then slice into thin strips (a pizza cutter is a good tool for the job). Now roll each strip between your hands, or on the bench, to create a long, thin rope. Dust with extra flour and loosely coil around your fingers into a bundle, then place on a floured tray. Leave room between each bundle. Continue with the remaining dough.
  4. To cook the pasta: bring a large pot of water to the boil, season well with salt – pasta cooking water should be salty like the sea. Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain but reserve a small cup of the cooking water (which can be useful to add to the pasta sauce to ensure the two marry together).
    Place the cooked pasta back into the saucepan and add enough pasta sauce to liberally coat the pasta. Heat through for a minute or so. Spoon into serving dishes and garnish with parmesan cheese.

Notes: uncooked, rolled pasta freezes well. Flour pasta generously then place nests of pasta separately on baking paper and place in a sealed container or zip lock bag (kept flat until frozen) OR freeze nests on a tray then transfer to a container or bag once frozen. Cook from frozen and allow a few minutes extra cooking time.

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