Today we’ll hit the second episode of our Tuscan cooking session.
It is worth saying though that “tuscan cooking” it is not really an appropriate way to define it..or better..them!! I’ll try to explain.. if you’ll ask my granny: ‘Grandma, let’s do a tuscan cooking column…What could we prepare? ..why not make a delicious trippa? She would answer..”what?? Trippa is from Florence, it is not a local dish then! (about 35 km n.d.r)”. Tuscany, as used to be a Gran Duchy, it is still..nowadays, ideally divided in different traditions, habits, customs.. that still oppose, even in the cooking way, Siena to Florence, or Pisa to Arezzo…
That is why I decided to illustrate a dish really rooted in my geographical area… or better – to be precise ( as my granny would say), time – honoured in Siena and in all the south part of the Siena zone. I am talking about the beautiful Val d’Orcia and of all the wonderful small medieval villages that still maintain intact their appeal.
Few years ago I made a Val d’Orcia tour with a few friends and we stopped over in Bagno Vignoni for dinner. Bagno Vignoni is really the most enchanted village I have visited; its beautiful medieval square with a huge swimming pool of thermal water! The four of us had pici as pasta dish!
Pici are thick, hand – home- made spaghetti, typical of the country tradition of home making pasta. They are made just of flour and water. That’s it! No eggs.
In Siena the typical sauces for pici are 2 mainly (although few more obviously exist): AGLIONE SAUCE, that could be translated as the mother of all the garlic sauce! and with bread crumbles.. a classical ( bread crumbles roasted in olive oil).
Ingredients for 4 people:
- flour, 300 g
- warm water, 150 ml
- extra virgin olive oil
Put the flour on a large wooden working surface, make a well in the center of the flour and add the water little by little, stirring with your hands until a dough is formed.The needed quantity of water may be different time by time.
Knead the dough until firm, compact and smooth.
Let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Now you have two way to make PICI.
You can roll the dough into long thick noodles with your hands or you can use the apposite rolling pin (see the picture below).
Roll out the dough into a thick sheet (at least 5 mm), then use the pici rolling pin to make deep cuts in it. Then, take out one noodle after the other, streching them with your hands.
Place the pici on a sheet tray dusted with flour and set aside to dry.
Boil them in steaming water as common fresh pasta.
The pici will be one different from the other: it’s their beauty!