Pici pasta with arugula pesto
Pici are thick, hand-rolled pasta looking basically like fat spaghetti. This kind of pasta has its origins from the the province of Siena in Tuscani Italy. The dough is typically made from only flour and water, whereas the addition of egg is optional.
The dough of this peasant pasta is rolled out in a thick flat sheet, then cut into strips. In some families, the strip of dough is rolled between one palm and the table, while the other hand is wrapped with the rest of the strip. It can also be formed by rolling the strip between the palms. Either method forms a thick pasta, slightly thinner than a common pencil. Unlike spaghetti, this type of pasta is not uniform in size and has variations of thickness along its length.
For the pici:
- 300g flour (I always use ‘de Cecco’ flour)
- 3 whole eggs
On a flat surface, sift the flour and dig a hole in the center into which the eggs will be added. Start mixing with a fork and incorporate the flour little by little. Once the flour is all mixed with the eggs, start mixing using your hands until the mixture is well homogeneous. If needed, add some water and season with salt. Form the dough into a ball and wrap it inside a plastic wrap. Let it rest aside for at least 20 minutes.
For the pici making, dust your work surface with some flour. Cut the pasta dough into strips and cover them with a towel to prevent from drying out. Each time, take a strip of dough and start rolling it outwards with both palms of your hands pushing out. Keep on rolling until a thick spaghetti is formed. It doesn’t really matter how long each of your pici is. However, try not to make it too thick (this will require some time and strength!). It is possible that some pici will break down while making them, but do not worry. As mentioned above, not all pici need to have the same length.
Recipe for the arugula pesto:
Once the pici are ready, add them into salted boiling water and let them cook for about 5-6 minutes. Drain and transfer them in a pan and mix with the arugula pesto. Serve in a hollow plate and sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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