Fresh pasta and bakery, biscuit, confectionary and pastry products;
1. Product name:
2. Other names:
3. Short product description:
Pici are a type of spaghetti that can be made by hand for quite wide and irregularly shaped strips, or with a pasta machine for a diameter that is never less than 3mm and a more uniform shape. They are eaten as a starter with meat or vegetable sauces. The traditional ingredients are flour, water and salt.
The product varies in the Montopoli Valdarno area, where “pici a parabola” are made. Each strip is about 3mm. The strips are coiled by hand and arranged into a satellite dish-like shape that improves the drying process.
4. Production area:
Siena and province, and some municipalities in the province of Grosseto.
For “pici a parabola”, the municipality of Montopoli Valdarno (Pisa).
5. Production status:
r disappeared r at risk r active
6. Production process:
s Handmade: “0” wheat flour is mixed with water, salt and extra virgin olive oil. An egg is added for every kilo of flour to make the pasta more ‘al dente’. After a light rolling, more extra virgin olive oil is added to thin the dough. Irregular cylindrical strips (pici) are cut from the dough and then “pulled” by hand on a wooden board and dusted with durum or maize flour to stop them sticking together. Pici shaped in this manner are lain on cloths, dusted again and boiled in water for around 5 minutes.
s Machine-made: For fresh pasta, wheat flour, semolina or durum wheat semolina can be used, while for the dried product, only semolina or durum wheat semolina can be used. In “0” wheat dough, water, salt and extra virgin olive oil are mixed together and then an egg is added for every kilo of flour.
In semolina or durum wheat semolina dough, only water is used. The dough, in both cases, must be quite dry to be worked properly. For fresh pasta, both handmade and machine-made, durum wheat flour can be used in the place of wheat flour, but this occurs rarely.
For “pici a parabola” (made in Montopoli Valdarno):
The flour is slowly mixed with room-temperature water only. The pasta is then pressed through bronze die and stretched by hand onto sheets into the shape of an open satellite dish, so as to not overlap. This shape affects the pasta’s flavour as it facilitates the drying process (maximum 55°C for around 72 hours) creating humidity levels of less than 7%.
7. Materials, equipment and premises used for production:
s Kitchen or workspace
s Kitchen utensils
s Pasta machine with bronze die
8. Notes on traditionalism, homogeneity of spread and persistence of production rules over time:
Pici are an ancient pasta. They date back to the Etruscans, as shown by the tangled strips frescoed on the tomba dei Leopardi in Tarquinia. They were once made without egg, but only flour and water, and were typically eaten by the poor farmers. Today, some people add an egg to the dough. Pici are eaten as a starter with ragù, tomato and garlic (pici all’aglione), oil and chilli or duck sauce.
Pici are made by many of the 20 pasta shops in the province of Siena, as well as those in Grosseto. In Montalcino and its surrounds, they are called “pinci”. Annual production is estimated to be around 500-1,000 kilos with a growth recorded in the last three years. Sales are made primarily in pasta shops, where the loose product is sold direct, but there are some companies that package and sell at a regional level. As for “pici montopolesi”, they’re only made by one pasta shop in Montopoli Valdarno, which has produced the unique satellite dish shape since 1860.