When I was younger I was not a big fan of pasta. I could still finish a 1 kg Fiorentina t-bone steak (Medium rare, please) and eat two-three servings of wild boar stew that had bubbled for hours on a stove and literally melted in your mouth; but pasta left me unimpressed. Lately my taste buds are experiencing a copernican revolution because I would eat pasta even for breakfast. Which, incidentally, is one of the best cures for hangovers.
If the French have a cheese for every day of the year, Italians follow their european cousins with a similar number of shapes for their pasta.*
Rotelle, Orecchiette, Eliche, tortellini, tortelloni, Chitarra, Spaghetti, Spaghettoni, Spaghettini, Bucatini..
And Pici, of course. Typical of Tuscany is the kind of pasta you want to avoid ordering on a date. Pici are impossible to eat without spilling the sauce everywhere, on you, your dress, your face and even on the waiter. But it is one of the most delicious: thick and porous, perfect with tomato sauce.
Pici all’aglione (Calabrian version)
(for two people, preferably not on a date)
200 gr of Pici (400 gr if fresh Pasta)
500 gr of cherry tomatoes, or datterini tomatoes
4 cloves of new garlic
2 salted anchovies (bones removed)
pepper & salt
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 small burrata
Olive Oil EVO
Preserved lemons (optional)
Lemon zest (strongly recommended)
A pinch of icing sugar
1.Slice the garlic and put it in a pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in half. When the garlic has softened (2 minutes) add the anchovies and wait until they melt. Now add the tomatoes and cover them with the oil, anchovies and garlic mixture. Add salt and icing sugar. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and let the sauce cook for 20 min or until the tomatoes have softened.
2. Prepare the breadcrums: In a pan add one tbsp of olive oil. When hot add the breadcrumbs. Use a wood spoon to stir and allow the mixture to brown evenly. Slice the peel (remove the pulp) of one quarter of a preserved lemon, previously washed under cold water. Dice it and add it to the breadcrumbs.
3. Put a big pot of water to the boil. Add a generous amount of cooking salt. When it boils add the Pici and cook them according to instructions. Drain and reserve a couple of tbsp of cooking water. Put the Pici in the pan with the sauce, on a medium heat, add the cooking water of the pasta and stir for a couple of minutes, until the sauce becomes smooth and thick again.
4. Put a generous portion of Pici on a place, add the breadcrumbs on top, the burrata and some preserved lemon dice or a bit of lemon zest on top.
5. Thank the universe
* Thank you Dxx