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Handmade Pici Pasta with Tomatoes and Capers


For the dough...

300 grams '00' or all-purpose flour

140 ml (~2/3 cup) warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil


Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Separately, combine the water and olive oil. Make a wide hole (or "well") in the center of the flour with your fist and add the water/olive oil mixture to the center. With a fork, gradually incorporate small bits of the flour from the rim of the well into the liquid center and whisk into a thick, batter-like consistency. Then, fold in the remaining loose flour from the rim of the bowl into the center batter until a shaggy dough forms. See my full tutorial on the "well method" here and here. Knead vigorously until everything is well-combined, very smooth, and firm, about 10-15 minutes. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature.

Pici dough should be bright white and very smooth.

Time to shape...

1. Cut off about 1/4 of the dough and, with a rolling pin, roll the section into a slab about 1/4-inch thick. Brush the dough lightly with olive oil on all sides to prevent drying.

2. Cut the slab into strips about 1/2-inch wide.

3. Roll each strip into ropes, about the thickness of bucatini, and a bit thinner than a pencil. If the pieces start to dry out, add a bit more olive oil.

4. Line up the finished pici on a semolina-lined baking tray so they're close together but don't touch. Repeat until all the dough is formed.

Finishing touches...

For this recipe, a bit out of the ordinary for me, I tested out a salsa alla campagnola from Il Vallino--a simple pomodoro sauce with onions, extra-virgin olive oil, basil, and other aromatics. I mixed the sauce with a tablespoon of capers and additional high-quality olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes until heated through. Meanwhile, bring a pot of very well-salted water to a boil and cook the pici until al dente, about 1-2 minutes. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately with a dusting of pecorino cheese. (Pici is perfect for tomato-based sauces, as well as creamy and cheese sauces like cacio e pepe). Enjoy!


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