Pici pasta challenge

pici

I love to challenge myself to make new recipes. My BFF got me hooked on my new favorite cooking show on the cooking channel called Extra Virgin. If you haven’t seen this show yet I highly recommend it. Not only are the recipes amazing and authentic Italian family recipes, but the couple, Gabriele and Debi are so fun to watch. They inspire me to cook more with my hubby in the kitchen.

I recently saw an episode telling the story of pici pasta, hand rolled noodles that are a tradition in the Florence region. I googled and found a great rustic recipe that looked authentic like the Extra Virgin episode version. Last night we made the pici and I have to say they came out delicious. It was so fun making the noodles all together as a family, as I usually micromanage and kick everyone out of the kitchen. It was a bit of a time consuming process rolling each noodle by hand, but well worth it for the taste and the experience, if you like to challenge yourself as a cook, like I do. The tip in the recipe about rolling the pasta dough into grape sized balls really did help to make process go smoother.

pici2

Pici Pasta with Spare Rib Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces pancetta (thinly sliced), finely diced
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs pork spare ribs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces by butcher
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups basic tomato sauce
  • 1 recipe pici pasta – posted below
  • Semolina or cornmeal, for dusting
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, for grating

Cooking Directions

In a 10 to 12 inch deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion, carrot, pancetta and basil, reduce the heat to medium high and cook until the pancetta has rendered its fat.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, cooking until they are browned on all sides.

Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer and with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

After you make the pici pasta dough as instructed below, shape small bits of the pasta dough into grape sized balls. One at a time, on a surface very lightly dusted with flour, roll each one into a rope 1/8 inch thick and 6-8 inches long and set aside on a baking sheet dusted with semolina. This is a time consuming process so plan ahead. If you don’t have extra time, this dish would be great served over orzo, fresh fettuicine or any of your favorite pasta.

Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Drop the pasta into the water and cook until tender, yet al dente, about 7-8 minutes.

Do not pour the pasta in a strainer, strain in small batches with a small strainer over the pot of water and toss right into the pan with the sauce and stir gently over medium high heat for 1 minute. By adding the pasta right from the water to the sauce you marry the two together.

Divide evenly among four warmed pasta bowls to serve. Top with freshly grated parmigiano (or Romano, you know I prefer that) and serve.

Pici Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups tepid water

Place both types of flour in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix well. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water a little at a time, stirring with your hands until a dough is formed. You may need more or less water, depending on the humidity in your kitchen.

Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead it like bread until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover the dough and let it stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Shape small bits of the pasta dough into grape sized balls. One at a time, on a surface very lightly dusted with flour, roll each one into a rope 1/8 inch thick and 6-8 inches long. Place the pici on a sheet tray that has been dusted with semolina flour, cover the pasta with a clean dish towel, and set aside until ready to use. At this point, the pasta can be frozen for several months.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: