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What Is Pici?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Pici is a type of pasta popular in Tuscany, located in central Italy. Similar to spaghetti, pici is thicker, more roughly textured, and more irregularly shaped than the common household pasta it bares a resemblance to. Though it is usually easy to find in Tuscany and other regions of Italy, it is difficult to find in other countries, particularly the United States. Pici goes by the name stringozzi in Umbria, also located in central Italy.

To make pici by hand, a mixture of flours is often used. Semolina or farro flour mixed with all-purpose flour is usually what is suggested, though different recipes advise different variations. Some recipes even suggest using only all-purpose flour. Sometimes olive oil, salt, and eggs may be added to the dough, but often just flour and water are used to make the pasta. Adding olive oil to the dough, however, helps prevent breakage when rolling, so cooks who often have a issue with dough breakage may wish to find a recipe which includes oil.

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As usual when making pasta, the dry ingredients should be mixed first, then an indentation is created in the center of the mixture where the wet ingredients are added. When eggs are included, they are mixed into the dough one at a time. The mixture is then kneaded until it becomes doughy. Once mixed thoroughly, it is covered and allowed to rest for about an hour. It also may be placed in the refrigerator and kept for up to one day.

After the pasta rests, it is first rolled into thin sheets, and then the sheets are cut into long strips. Working on a floured surface, the strips are rolled by hand into cylinders. Pieces not being rolled are covered to prevent drying. Pici is a good pasta for beginning pasta makers because it is designed to have a thick, irregular shape, so uniformity and precision are not vital. Noodles can be various lengths, but should generally be about 8 inches (20 cm) long. Noodles should not exceed 18 inches (45.7 cm).

Once the noodles are complete, they should be placed into salted water and then boiled for a few minutes. When the noodles begin to float to the top, they should be boiled for no longer than a minute more and then removed from the water. Like spaghetti, meat sauce is a traditional topping for pici. Herb sauces also compliment this pasta well.

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