Many years ago my husband Bruce and I spent two consecutive summers in Italy, in Tuscany. The house we rented sat on a hill overlooking a beautiful old town, vineyards and golden hills. Summers flew by, we enjoyed times with friends, and times following the porchetta truck from town to town. One of the foods we enjoyed most was pici . Pici is a thick, hand rolled pasta, like a fat spaghetti. It originates in the province of Siena in Tuscany; it is slightly chewy when cooked, and lends itself to hearty sauces or flavorful pairings.
When I picked up my pork shoulder at Chop, I circled the wonderful store for some treats. On the shelf with the huge selection of pastas, my eyes fell on two bags of imported from Sienna, pici. I have ordered pici on line, just recently in fact, Olivia brought a package to her host family in Japan.
I cooked it tonight like this
4 extra thick strips bacon, cut in good size pieces
1 can anchovies, drained (optional)
6 whole garlic cloves
4 scallions, chopped
crushed red pepper
1 package pici
1 cup Parmesan
In a large deep sided skillet, on a low flame, cook the bacon, anchovies ( if desired) and the garlic until the bacon turns golden brown. Add the scallions and cook for a minute or two. With a fork, mash the garlic and any anchovies that have not dissolved and stir. Stir in a few tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. If it seems dry, add another tablespoon or two of the olive oil. Set aside.
Heat water in a large pot. Add some salt to the water and bring to a boil. Cook the pici according to the directions on the package. Pici is thick and usually takes over 20 minutes to be the right texture. When the pasta is done, drain in a colander and return to the pan with the bacon.
Add the Parmesan and stir gently, or use tongs, to mix and coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.
I would have added a cup of peas to the boiling pasta if I had them in the house.