Pici (pronounced pichi) is a pasta typical of the Tuscany region. It’s a pasta that calls for hearty flavours and this sauce is a perfect match. A sprinkle of zesty crissini crumb to finish the dish not only adds some zing, but delivers a surprising element of crunch to the dish.
For the pici:
- 300 gr 00 flour
- 150 gr water
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 grissini, crumbed
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 bunch silverbeet, chopped
- 4 garlic clove, peeled & cut in half
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tinned peeled tomatoes
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- Dried chilli flakes, to taste
For the pici:
- Place the flour onto a clean surface, shape it into a circular mound and make a well in the centre.
- Place the water and the salt in the well and use a fork to lightly whisk and start to incorporate some flour.
- Use your fingertips to gradually blend a little more flour into the water until forms a dough.
- Firmly knead the dough by using the heel of your hand pushing down into it, and then away from you. Lift the dough and fold it back onto itself. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Continue kneading for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in a tea towel ( this will prevent the dough from drying out) and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
- After resting the dough, place it on a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is about 5 mm thick. Cut the flattened dough into 2 cm wide strips.
- Take one strip at a time and begin the rolling process. Use the palms of both hands and with light pressure roll from the centre outwards, to create a long, thin rope approximately 2-3 mm in diameter.
- Place the rolled pici on a lightly floured tray and repeat with the remaining strips.
For the crumb:
- Take approximately 8 grissini and break up before placing in a zip-lock bag. Seal the bag with minimal air before covering with a tea towel. Tap over the bag with a rolling pin to break the grissini into smaller pieces. In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and allow it to warm. Once hot add the small pieces of grissini and cook until nicely toasted and golden. Turn off the heat, add the lemon zest and toss until well combined. Set Aside.
- For the sauce:
- In a large frying pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and anchovy fillets. Stir occasionally to allow the anchovies to slowly dissolve. Once they are completely dissolved and the garlic is golden, remove the garlic cloves and add the onion. Cook until translucent.
- Add the silverbeet, a pinch of salt and cook until the silverbeet is wilted.
- Add the peeled tomatoes and use a fork to break them up.
- Add water to cover, season and add chilli flakes before allowing it to simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and once ready, check for seasoning.
- When the sauce is almost ready, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pici to the water and cook until it is al dente (5-6 minutes).
- Drain the pici, and add it to the sauce. Toss it through until the pasta is evenly coated with sauce.
- Add the Parmigiano and toss until the cheese is melted through before serving.
- To finish, top each serving with a sprinkle of the zesty grissini crumb.
Born and raised in a seaside town on the Italian east coast, Davide’s passion for food was ignited as a child, watching and helping his mamma and nonna making fresh pasta. In his 20’s he began working in local seafood restaurants, and spent time developing his craft under the supervision of a Michelin star chef. In later years,
Davide earned the position of head chef for a well-renowned restaurant in his hometown. The love of travel, adventure and new experiences brought Davide to Australia in 2011. He quickly found his feet as he stepped into various kitchens across Sydney’s fine dining scene. A love for fresh seasonal produce is what drives Davide as he prepares classic and modern dishes- always with an equal portion of both Italy and Australia in his heart.