FROM TUSCANY WITH LOVE: PICI PASTA

Moderate Recipes

Moderate Recipes

post 401 image 4

Do you recall the first time that you ate spaghetti as a child?  If you were like me, then the answer would probably be NO. I was so young and sitting in a high chair that I cannot recall that memorable moment but I can tell you that I begged my mother, my grandmother and my aunt  to serve it to me plain, with a little butter and in (post high chair) time with some pecorino romano cheese. I did not want spaghetti sauce on my pasta. As I grew up into a young lady of 6 or 7 years, I would be adventurous and ask for sauce “on the side”.  I still do at times but there are moments today that can only be captured by a good bowl of Bolognese sauce.

Regardless of the sauce and pasta dressings, I waited to travel to Italy with my husband before I fell in love with pici pasta, traditional pasta from the Tuscany region of Siena.  OK. I love all pasta, especially fresh pasta like  thin angel hair, spaghetti, linguine and bucatini but there is something so delicious about hand rolled pici pasta that I wonder why it is not served more frequently in restaurants in the states.  Pici pasta is similar to Bucatini but the strands are thick long solid pasta shapes made from dough that is primarily water, flour and on occasion, egg. Each pici strand is individually hand rolled and no two strands are the same.  Here is a recipe for preparing pici pasta that our friends at La Ferreira in Loro Ciuffena shared with us.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

100 grams of flour (96g = ¾ cup so add a little more flour than ¾ cup)

¼ cup water

1 egg (optional)

Sea Salt – ¼ tsp total for both pasta and sauce

Fresh Ground Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup Crushed Garlic

1  cup Marzano or Grape Tomatoes

3 – 4 springs fresh Basil

Shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese

Moderate Recipes

Moderate Recipes

HOW TO MAKE PICI:  

Slowly mix some of the water and flour until you can make a well in the center to add the egg. Continue to mix the flour, water and egg mixture.  Add a dash of sea salt. At this point you may not need all of the remaining water. Use only enough water to incorporate the flour into the dough mixture.post 401 image 1

Knead for 8 – 10 minutes into a ball

Place in a bowl and cover with a damp towel

Let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes

Generously flour your surface to prevent the dough from sticking.

post 401 image 3         post 401 image 2

Roll the dough until it is ¼ inch thick.

Cut into long strips.

post 401 image 4

Take each strand and roll it back and forth with the front of your fingers to create long pici.

Add a little flour on the rolled pici to prevent sticking.

Boil water with a pinch of salt and a cap of olive oil.

Cook Pici for 8 – 10 minutes until cooked ‘al dente’.  Do NOT overcook pici pasta.

Rinse well and set aside.

Moderate Recipes

Moderate Recipes

SIMPLE PICI SAUCE:

Heat a frying pan with1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Season the oil in the frying pan with salt, pepper, crushed garlic and fresh basil.

Prepare 1 cup Grape or Marzano tomatoes by cutting them in half, length-wise.

Add tomatoes to the frying pan.

picci pasta 1                                      picci pasta 2picci pasta 3

 

(Note:  Some use grape sized tomatoes.  If you can get them, the Marzano tomatoes are wonderful. They are a little larger and longer than grape tomatoes and really burst with flavor.)

Reduce the heat to med-low setting.  Add cooked pici pasta. Add more olive oil – just enough to prevent the pasta from sticking to the pan.  Pan fry pici no more than 4 – 5 minutes.

pici past image 4                              pici pasta image 5                                                           Plate the pici pasta.                                              Top with fresh basil and drizzle with a little more olive oil.

pici pasta image 6

Shave Pecorino Romano Cheese on top and enjoy.

Advertisements

Beach Bons

Moderate Recipes

Moderate Recipes

Beachbon 101 image 2

Want a new take on favorite ice cream movie bites?  Try making these at home. A plate of three different oversized ice cream bon bons makes a memorable ending to a great meal.  At our store on Sanibel Island, we refer to these giant treats as ‘beach bons’ because they were created with our homemade original Italian ice cream flavors inspired by the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva islands. We also received Taste of the Islands BEST DESSERT for these little treasures.  You can use your own gelato, ice creams and sorbet to create these flavorful frozen confections but keep in mind that the key to beautiful beach bons lies in the preparation. Enrobing is much easier if the ice cream is hard frozen. You can prepare the bons up to two days ahead before enrobing them.  Have fun and enjoy!

Basic Beach Bons:

Take a 4 oz scooper. Scoop a round ball of vanilla bean ice cream.

Select a stuffing for the ball such as diced maraschino cherries or dried fruits and nuts.

Poke a hole in the center of the round ball and stuff with your choice of filling.

Mold the ball like a small meatball.

Cover in saran wrap.  Freeze for 1 hour or more until frozen and formed.

Melt Chocolate in a double boiler or crock pot.

Remove saran wrap bons. Dip in melted chocolate with a slotted spoon.

Lay them on a small tray of waxed or parchment paper to cool.

Place them back in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Leave them in simple chocolate or drizzle with some melted chocolate to hold dusted cocoa, sprinkles or your choice of topping.

Return to freezer until ready to serve.

Decorate the plate with whipped cream and Lyons Raspberry sauce for garnish.

Beach Bon variations:

  1. Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream Sanibel Krunch© ice cream coated in toasted coconut which has been enrobed in chocolate and stuffed with mixed nuts.
  2. Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream Dirty Sand Dollar© ice cream coated in crushed whoppers and dusted in cocoa.
  3. Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream Sel de Mer© chocolate, caramel and sea salt gelato stuffed with creamy caramel and coated in dark chocolate with sprinkled sea salt

beachbon 101 image 3MANGO SORBET BEACH BONS ROLLED IN NONPAREILS