Pici all Aglione
Past a with Garlic-Tomato Sauce
Pici is a hand-rolled fresh pasta from the southern part of the province of Siena. Each strand is rolled by hand. The classic sauce is aglione, made with wild garlic and tomatoes. If your farmers’ market sells green garlic, you will come close to the traditional recipe. Otherwise, just substitute regular garlic. My friend Lina Mazzetti’s secret? Warm water in the dough.
6 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 small head green garlic, or 3 regular garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 dried peperoncini (dried red peppers), or red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus
1 teaspoon for rubbing on the dough
Pinch of salt
Coarse semolina flour or cornmeal
For the sauce: In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, peperoncini, and parsley. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is very tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pass through a food mill or purée with an immersion blender. Set aside and keep warm, or reheat to serve.
Meanwhile, for the pici dough: Mound the flour on a wooden board and make a well in the center. Add the water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt to the
well. With your hands (or a fork), work the flour into the liquid from the sides to make a smooth dough. Clean the board, lightly flour it, then knead the dough for about 15 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Lightly rub with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, then cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Flatten the dough and cut into thin strips. Roll, one at a time, on the board with the palms of your hands into a long, round strand, like a fat spaghetti. Lay the strands out on a tray liberally sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal to keep them from sticking. Cook in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pici for 3 to 4 minutes, until al dente. Drain and toss with the sauce. Serve at once.