Ali Matteini

a life creative

My Cucina Toscana: Homemade Pici Pasta and Sauce

What is pici? Pici – or Pinci, as folks from Montalcino call it – is a thick hand-rolled spaghetti-like pasta made solely from flour water and salt, native to Tuscany and, as with most traditional fare from here, it has its roots in poverty and making the most of what you had.

I’m slightly ashamed to say that having lived in Italy since 2012, I still don’t own a pasta maker. I did have one back in Australia but I gave it to my friend who owns a childcare centre and I hear it has found far more satisfactory employment as a playdough extruder. I don’t even own a rolling pin I’m quite happy to use a recycled wine bottle. Works just as well.


For the pici

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil*

For the sugo (sauce)


1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small steaks finely diced [I used about 150g shoulder steaks as i didn’t have mince on hand]
2 tablespoons jarred peas
1/2 tomato diced
3 tablespoons of tomato passata
1/2 cup water
salt and lots of pepper
a small pinch of chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of thyme
olive oil



For the sugo: heat olive oil in the saucepan, add garlic, onion and meat and seasoning and cook, stirring, over medium heat.

After about 15 minutes add the tomato, passata, peas and water. continue to cook at a low temperature [just simmering] for another 30-40 minutes. add more water or passata to taste.


For the pici: mix oil and flour in a bowl [*I had my doubts that the oil is traditionally added to pici dough. I asked around and some do, some don’t, some even add an egg. Tradition is familial.].

Add enough water to make a dough that is firm but not sticky. 


Knead until smooth, cover and let rest for about 40 minutes [it’s a gluten thang].

Roll out the dough so that it is about 5mm thick.


Cut into strips.


With your hands, roll each strip on a floured board until it resembles fat spaghetti [I got so excited at this point, because they looked so much like the real thing that I forgot to take the photographs]. Each should be around 1/2 a centimetre thick, and you might need to dampen your hands so that the dough ‘grabs’ and can be rolled.

Cut so that each piece is around 15-20cm long.

Boil 3 litres of salted water and carefully add the pici, stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes.


Drain and return to the saucepan, mix in your home made sugo, and enjoy…with wine from the montecucco, naturally 🙂


After all that pici rolling I have renewed respect for those who put their time in at the sagras throughout the year and when i say ‘spend time’ i’m talking 3 days rolling pici for 200 people – that’s a lot of wristwork.

These days, for convenience, you can buy pici dried or packaged fresh, though there’s no comparison with a hand made version.

Pici pasta


A Presto

Cheers and ciao,
Ali 🙂

5 comments on “My Cucina Toscana: Homemade Pici Pasta and Sauce

  1. Rosalind Smith
    January 20, 2016

    Wow looks delicious. Brings back wonderful memories of amazing food and wine from Toscana. Will have to try. Hope u both r well. Much love

    Cheers Rosalind xx

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Kittykatmandoo
      January 20, 2016

      Let me know when you make it 😊 All very well here. When are you guys coming back?? Xx

  2. patrick
    November 8, 2016

    yummy!! you make it seem so easy!!

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2016 by in Food, Italian Food, Italy, My Cucina Toscana and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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