Lets learn how to make pici, the tradition plate of Valdichiana!
Pici is one of the famous plates of our territory, one of the distinguishing elements of Valdichiana comes for the lengthy traditions of our citizens that have characterized our countryside. Making pasta by hand, thicker than the usual spaghetti, is made by rolling the dough and rubbing it with both hands, this is called “appiciare”(the process of making the Pici). It is a recipe that is easy to create, and is easy to learn for those who have never worked in a kitchen.
Thanks to this, everyone can enjoy making Pici in the countryside by taking advantage of the classes and tours provided by Valdichiana Living to learn the culinary aspects of the territory that is still passing on the methods of making Pici from hand exactly how it was done years ago by the farmhands. The class is quick and tasty, perfect for children, that ends with a taste of the just prepared pasta, seasoned with a traditional local sauce.
For our first experience as “appiciatori” (Pici makers) we have an appointment with the farm “Le Stringaie”, where we will meet Rosanna and Lara, they will be our chefs and help us in the kitchen. We will be given an apron, the first instructions will be given in Italian and English, then we are ready to start! The recipe is simple, we will attentively follow the instructions from Rosanna, rubbing our hands together with flour and approach our respective places at the table, ready to begin making the pasta.
Before anything else we will make the dough, where we will mix the oats; working it in the bowls, before we let it rest. While we wait, we will visit the vegetable garden on the farm: we will harvest zucchini and onions, pears and lettuce, that will be perfect to make a salad to accompany the Pici.
Returning to the Pici, we will follow the instructions of the cooks to flatten the pasta and begin to work it: we rub the long spaghettoni with both palms and we begin to “appiciare”. The dimensions of the Pici depends of the method of cooking, if the Pici are to long they will not fit well in the pot, so we need to be attentive and reach the right dimensions.
The Pici are prepared and set on the table, ready to be cook. In the meanwhile we will make the condiments: other than the classic ragù, Pici in Valdichina can be enjoyed with other typical sauces, for example L’aglione (which is a type of sweet garlic that grows in this region), the briciole di pane (sauce made with bread crumbs), ragù bianco di anatra (white ragù made from duck) or also ragù di carne chianina (a ragù made with the meat of local cattle).
At the end of the preparation it is time to cook the pici and try it, Pici is best when accompanied by a glass of good wine. The class was quick and fun, we learned to make homemade pici and we were able to visit the country side: it was more than just becoming an expert in the kitchen, but also a perfect example of how gastronomy can teach us about the local culture. If you are interested in having this experience, you can take a look at the tours that we offer!