Handmade pasta is one of those dishes that’s worth the extra effort every time. Here to teach us a new variety is Jason Harley, executive chef and owner of the brand new Pici Enoteca in Beverly Hills. His recipe is for the restaurant’s namesake: a thick, spaghetti-like, rolled pasta originating from the Siena region of Tuscany. The technique requires practice, but isn’t all that different from what you used to do with Play-Doh on your parent’s kitchen table. Here, the pici gets tossed in a simple chunky tomato basil garlic sauce that lets all your newfound dough skills shine. Get the recipe.
2 ounces Extra Virgin Olive oil
3 Cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 teaspoon red chili flakes crushed
3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
2 plum tomatoes chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
Pici pasta (recipe to follow)
1) Heat oil in large saute pan
2) Add chopped garlic and cook until golden brown
3) Add chili flakes and toast in oil for 30 seconds
4) Add chopped basil and chopped tomatoes
5) Lower flame and cook for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste
**For a smoother sauce you can puree basil and chopped tomatoes in a blender first
6) Boil pasta until tender, strain and add to tomato sauce, sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh chopped basil over the top and serve immediately.
HANDMADE PICI PASTA
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 large egg beaten to blend (optional, in place use 1 to 2 ounces EVOO)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup room temperature water, plus extra if needed
Extra virgin olive oil and semolina flour for tossing
Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the egg and stir in the water; if the dough does not gather around the spoon, add a little more water by the spoonful until a dough forms. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until very smooth and pliable; the dough should be somewhat soft but not sticky. Flatten into a disk and rub both sides with olive oil. Let rest, wrapped in plastic for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours at room temperature.
Rub a work counter with olive oil. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch wide strips and roll each into a long, thin rope, using the palms of your hands. Each rope should be 1/2 inch thick. Toss each rope as it is finished with a little semolina flour and place on a tray in curling nests until ready to cook (the pici can be held at room temperature, covered loosely with a dry kitchen towel, for up to 4 hours). If you find that the dough resists and/or sticks to the counter as you roll it out, rub the counter lightly again with olive oil.
Beverly Hills, CA
Executive Chef/Owner Jason Harley