Pici alle briciole (pici with breadcrumbs) is typical dish from Siena, which I tasted the first time during a folk festival in Montepulciano, one of my favorite places in Tuscany!!! This dish is very simple, fast, and dates back to peasants’ cuisine. If you have never had a chance to taste it, give it a try – it’s really worth it! In a few minutes you can enjoy a delicious first course. The ingredients – pasta, bread , olive oil, garlic and chili pepper – are common in poor and rural cuisine. This is an example how simple ingredients are transformed into a beautiful and flavorful dish.
According to the tradition, pici should be handmade, as our grandmothers did, but nowadays there are good dry products available on the market. Handmade pici are still the most delicious ones! Pici is a type of pasta similar to spaghetti, but wider, more than ⅛ inch thick. The dough is made from wheat flour and water, (some recipes add eggs too), then worked on a board with the palms of the your hands to create a long and thick noodle, or is rolled to a sheet -not too thin – and shaped with a special rolling pin with grooves to form the pasta. It takes longer to cook dried pici ( about 20 minutes ) than it does other types of pasta, while fresh pici usually cook faster ( about 4-6 minutes ), depending on the thickness of the “noodles.
PICI ALLE BRICIOLE (PICI WITH BREADCRUMBS)
340 g (12 oz) dried pici
4 slices of stale bread , about 120 g (4 oz)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon dried chili,
Salt to taste
Tuscan Pecorino cheese
1. Bring about 3 liters of water and salt to boil, and cook pici for about 20 min.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend the bread coarsely. In a non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toast the breadcrumbs until golden brown . Set aside
3. In an another non-stick pan sautee in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic and chili pepper, taking care not to burn the ingredients
4. Drain pici with a fork, add the olive oil mixture and toss with the breadcrumbs mixture. Serve immediately with grated pecorino cheese. – Paola