Sunday, October 21, 2007


Every region of Italy seems to have its own Pasta they call their own. Here in central Tuscany its “Pici”; a thicker than Spaghetti…(er) Spaghetti.

As much as I would like to think Italians spend their days making pasta with there hands, the fact is it rarely practical for large quantity usage. Consider pasta making like inviting the girls around for a knitting session, or a blunted Saturday mixtape. It’s not for everyday. Daintier pastas call for the artisanal approach as there are generally fewer on a plate (think Ravioli) and yes, Lasagna just tastes better with the rolled out thin approach, but fresh is still fresh, feel me?

Here at “Locanda Pane e Vino” we use this gadget to make large amounts of Pici. It’s a task I have been given and I take strange pride in each strand. The bustle of the Restaurant is shut out and it’s just me carefully “combing” what will soon become food fodder.

We boil the full amount. Douse it in Olive Oil and then let it rest (cool) on the counter for 20 minutes or so. When an order comes in, we boil it for less than five minutes to bring all its goodensss back to the fore. Stored in the refigrator the pre-made Pici is good for 3-5 days, longer than if kept stored fresh.

Two examples from our menu…

Cacio e Peppe. A Roman specialty and likely the easiest pasta I have ever experienced.

How bout a recipe folks…

Put a good amount of Olive Oil in a pan, throw in more black Pepper than you would traditionally deem necessary, a large handful of Pecorino Romano (the “caccio”) and then one (depending on the quantity) ladleful of pasta water (best case scenario it is already gluttonized by past pasta boilage and also salted). Simply add the boiled Pici (or pasta of choice) to the pan. No heat is needed assuming the Pasta is squelching hot. Add more pepper and more cheese. Stir and bring it all together. When serving garnish with even more cheese. Ha!
& Pici with Coniglio (Rabbit) Ragu

Yes, the Rabbit you met the other week. Apologies Verro!

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