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Pici Pasta

Serves 4

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup warm (110°F) water, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

  • Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

  1. Pour the flour out on a clean counter and form a well in the middle. Pour the warm water into the well. Using a fork, begin to scrape some of the flour from the inner sides of the well into the water, slowly incorporating more and more of the flour. The water in the middle will thicken and become a soft dough. Eventually, you will be able to lose the fork and just use your hands. Keep incorporating the flour as needed to keep your dough from sticking to your hands and the countertop. You do NOT need to incorporate all of the flour, the amount of flour will depend on the type, the humidity, and other variables. You want a nice soft dough, not too sticky.

  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or so, adding a bit more flour only when it begins to stick. Cover the dough and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

  3. Divide the dough in 4 pieces. Take one, and cover the rest with plastic wrap. Roll into a sheet around 1/8” thick, then cut this sheet into thin flat strips around 1/4” wide. Take each strip and roll the noodles on a floured wooden board with your palm to form rounded, thick spaghetti.

  4. Coil each strand into a spiral and place the formed pici on a sheet pan dusted with semolina flour. Do not allow them to touch, as they will stick to each other. Continue with the remaining 3 pieces of dough.

  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high; season with salt as desired. Carefully unfurl pici, shaking off any excess semolina, and drop into boiling water. Stir gently to prevent sticking. Cook, undisturbed, until tender, about 3 minutes. While pici cook, uncover sauce, and reheat over medium-low, stirring often.

  6. Using tongs, transfer cooked pici to sauce in skillet, reserving cooking liquid in pot. Cook mixture, gradually adding cheese and stirring constantly, until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Loosen sauce by adding reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed. Divide pici evenly among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with additional cheese, and drizzle with additional oil. Garnish with basil, if desired, and serve immediately.


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