Classic Tuscan Sauces for Pici Print Email

Pici with a bread crumb sauce

Tuscans traditionally would bake very large loaves of bread once each week. All week long, the breadcrumbs produced slicing the bread were put aside to be used later. Today this method is fairly unwieldy, but by grating stale bread we obtain something very similar.

Ingredients for 4 people:
3-4 oz. of bread crumbs
Red hot pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
14 oz. pici

Add the pici to salted boiling water and cook them well. It's hard to give the exact cooking time. Being a homemade product, it depends on the humidity and the consistency of the dough. Generally you'll need to cook for about 10 minutes. Pici must be well done and not al dente (underdone) like spaghetti-but this depends on one's personal taste, so we will not presume to dictate absolute rules.

While the pici are cooking, pour extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan. Some people prefer to use vegetable oil (corn, sunflower), which is acceptable, and raw extra virgin olive oil to taste, but personally I believe that it is best to use as little oil as possible and if necessary to choose the one that alters less with heat, therefore extra virgin olive oil.

When the oil is hot add a few garlic cloves to brown and red hot pepper, then add half the breadcrumbs. Immediately take the pan off the heat to avoid burning the crumbs. Drain the pici well and saute in the pan with the crumb sauce, then add the other half of the crumbs and serve hot. – Chef Luciano Benucci, Palazzo Bandino, Chianciano, Italy

Pici with a garlic sauce

Ingredients for 4 people:
14 oz tomatoes (San Marsano)
4 cloves of garlic
Red hot pepper
Fresh parsley

Peel and chop the tomatoes well, after removing seeds. In a pan heat the oil with finely chopped garlic and red hot pepper: When the garlic begins to brown, add the tomatoes and simmer 15 minutes. If necessary add a little oil. Cook the pici separately.

Finely chop the parsley. When the sauce is ready add the pici and briefly saute, sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. – Chef Luciano Benucci, Palazzo Bandino, Chianciano, Italy