Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
SERVES 5 - 6
Tasting pinci, a thick type of spaghetti, is a good enough reason to visit the wine country of Montalcino. And Chef Maria Gorelli turns them out by hand faster than any machine can in the Castle Banfi kitchen. In other parts of Tuscany, these delicious noodles are called pici, which just goes to show how localized the cuisine of Tuscany can be.
Make the dough in a food processor or by hand. If you do not want to make the pinci from scratch, substitute bucatini, a thicker cut of dried pasta found in grocery stores.
2 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Warm water as needed
To make the dough by hand, heap the flours with the salt on a work surface and mix them together with your hands. Make a hole in the center of the flour and add the egg; begin mixing the flour from the inside of the wall into the egg. When you have a rough mass, push the excess flour out of the way and knead the dough into a smooth ball. If the mixture seems dry as you form the dough, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you have the right consistency. Cover the dough with a bowl and allow it to rest for 30 minutes to relax the gluten.
If using a food processor, place all the flour and salt in the bowl of the processor and whirl to blend. Add the egg and water, if needed, through the feed tube. Process until a ball forms around the blade. Remove and cover the dough as above.
To form the pinci, divide the dough in half; work with one half at a time and keep the rest covered. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangle the thickness of pizza dough. Cut 9 1/4-inch wide strips from the dough. Anchor one end of the strip with one hand, and with the other roll and stretch each one under your palm creating a thick looking strand. Coil each one loosely around your hand, forming a "nest" and place them on a towel sprinkled with semolina.
To cook, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Lift the pinci from the towel and drop into the water. Cook until al dente. These will be a little chewier than regular spaghetti because of their thickness. Drain and toss the pinci with salsa di briciole or a sauce of your choice.