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What are Pici Pasta?

Pici are one of the most evocative and traditional types of pasta found in Italy. Made with just a few simple ingredients, they are long strands of pasta rolled by hand, resulting in a slightly irregular shape.

 Pici are a Tuscan pasta similar to spaghetti, but typically made with just flour and water.

How to Make Pici:

There’s no special equipment needed to make pici, making them perfect for a fun activity with friends or even young children. Precision isn’t key – the charm of pici lies in their delightful imperfections. Just try to maintain a somewhat consistent thickness when rolling them out to avoid uneven cooking times.

  • Ingredients:
    • 300g (10.5 oz) all-purpose flour, or a mix of all-purpose flour and semolina flour (Braciere Malatesta uses a mix of 0 and T1 flour)
    • 180ml (6 fl oz) warm water
    • 10g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • Instructions:
  1. Make the dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add warm water, mixing with a fork until a rough dough forms. Knead the dough into a ball on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  2. Rest the dough: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough: Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining pieces covered to prevent drying out. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface into a long, thin sheet, about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Cut the pici: Using a knife or pasta cutter, cut the dough sheet into long, thin strips, about 1/4-inch wide.
  5. Shape the pici: Take one strip and hold it between your palms. Gently roll the dough back and forth using your fingers to create long, thin strands. The pici should be slightly irregular in thickness, but aim for a consistent width.
  6. Cook the pici: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pici and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente.
  7. Serving suggestions: Pici can be enjoyed with a variety of sauces, including the classic cacio e pepe (also suitable for vegetarians).

    Here are a few pairing ideas for your homemade pici:
  • Pici with roasted cherry tomatoes and breadcrumbs: Toss halved cherry tomatoes in olive oil and roast in the oven at 350°F (180°C) until slightly blistered. Grate Parmesan cheese (or pecorino as an alternative) and add chopped garlic (fresh or powdered, depending on your preference), oregano, and toss with the tomatoes once cooked. In a separate pan, gently sauté a few cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until softened. Remove from heat, add crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and lemon zest. Cook the pici until tender and toss them in the pan with a ladleful of pasta water and the grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Plate and garnish with roasted tomatoes, breadcrumbs, and your favorite herbs like basil, parsley, or chives.
  • Pici with chopped mushrooms and lots of garlic: Sauté sliced mushrooms in a pan over high heat with olive oil, butter, and a pinch of salt. Once browned, add chopped garlic and cook for about 20 seconds before removing from heat. Using a vegetable peeler, take the zest of a lemon and cut it into thin strips. Add the zest to the pan along with plenty of black pepper and freshly grated pecorino. Toss the cooked pici with the sauce, adding a ladleful of pasta water for a creamier consistency. Serve garnished with chopped chives.

Braciere Malatesta Pici Variations:

At Braciere Malatesta, you can find two delicious varieties of pici:

  • In winter, they serve pici with a flavorful onion base, an egg yolk sauce, and crispy prosciutto crudo Renieri.
  • In summer, their pici are paired with sausage, mushrooms, and roasted cherry tomatoes.