This is one of my absolute favourite pasta shapes to make and eat, it has a wonderful chewy texture that can't be beat. Pici is a really rustic shape originating in Tuscany and is a thick spaghetti shape that is often paired with my favourite cacio e pepe sauce. It is so simple to make, all you need is flour, water and olive oil. Rolling the strands take a bit of time so maybe don't plan on feeding 10 people for your first try!
What you will need to make pici pasta
Flour - either '00' or plain flour
Water - I like to use slightly warm water, it brings the dough together nicely.
Olive Oil - use anything you have at home.
Semolina - you will need course semolina to dust the strands so they don't stick together.
Rolling pin - although you roll the shape out by hand you need to roll out the dough quite thin first with a rolling pin.
Wooden board - you need to roll onto a wooden board as it creates the grip you need to create long thin strands.
How to make pici
- Weigh your flour then tip it out onto your bench. Make a well in the middle (I use the bottom of a bowl to do this) then pour in the warm water and olive oil.
- Whisk the water with a fork, slowly and carefully incorporating the flour from the outside into the middle until it forms a thick paste.
- When the middle mixture becomes too thick to whisk I like to use a bench scraper to cut the remaining flour into the liquid, you can do this with your hands too. You basically want to end up with a very evenly incorporated shaggy mixture.
- Bring it together into a ball and knead vigorously for 4 - 5 minutes until you get a dimpled ball of dough. Wrap tightly and rest for 10 mins.
- Continue kneading for a few minutes, you should end up with a very smooth ball of dough. Wrap again and rest for an hour or up to three at room temp. Thirty minutes isn't quite enough of a rest time here as you'll find the strands will spring back.
Rolling out the pici
- Using a quarter of the dough at a time, roll out with a rolling pin until 3mm thick. Keep the dough you aren't using wrapped up tightly. Cut into 1.5cm strips.
- On a wooden board roll the strips out into long strands, with your hands really flat starting in the middle and working your way out.
- Place the finished strands onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and liberally dusted with course semolina to stop them sticking. After you dust them you can wrap them up into nests.