Hello everyone, happy Saturday! I wanted to share this recipe with you at the weekend as its preparation may be a little too lengthy for your typical speedy weeknight supper, as when making your own pasta it should always be given the love and attention it deserves and never be rushed.
For a very long time pasta was the only food my sister and I would eat, luckily my taste buds have evolved since then but my love of the stuff has never ceased. Over the summer I dusted off the pasta machine we had in our kitchen and started to make my own pasta – the best pasta I had eaten in a very long time. I am now back in my student kitchen and without the luxury of a pasta machine so I wanted to find a method in which you could make delicious pasta without it. I have found one! Pici pasta. This originates in Tuscany and is a chunky hand rolled spaghetti that is very easy to make. It is thicker than usual spaghetti and less processed so the texture and taste is a bit different, though no less yummy, I find that it tastes similar to gnocchi .
Below I have shared my recipe for a lovely spinach and basil pici along with a prawn sauce as it is one of my very favourite pasta accompaniments. Feel free to add any sauce of your choice, however, depending on what you have in the fridge or whatever you fancy eating this weekend.
I hope you enjoy making this dish as much as you enjoy eating it, my personal aim for each meal!
Serves 2 people
1 hour prep time
1/2 hour cooking time
- 100g fresh spinach
- 2 handfuls fresh basil, chopped
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 150 tipo 00 flour (or plain flour)
- 50g semolina
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
- 200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 150g fresh or frozen peas
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 200g uncooked king prawns
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- juice of 1 lemon
- 25 grams of butter
- salt and pepper
- Wash your spinach and 1 handful of basil in a colander and then wilt it in a frying pan with a dash of water. Take it off the heat once it is cooked through and has quartered in quantity.
- Squeeze all water out of the spinach using a square of muslin, or your hands if you cannot get hold of this. It should be as dry as you can manage.
- In a food processor blitz this with 1 egg yolk until it has formed a fine, pesto like, paste.
- Sift your semolina and flour onto a clean surface and then make a well in the middle of it (check the photos above for reference) and drop in your remaining egg and spinach mixture.
- Using a fork whisk together the egg and spinach and then gradually stir in the flour until a wet dough has formed. Dust a little flour over your surface and then knead for five to ten minutes until you have a smooth dough.
- Pinch a thumb sized piece of the dough and roll in your hands into a thin sausage shape and then set to one side for it to dry out a little bit. I do this by hanging the pici onto coat hangers so that it can stretch out. Repeat this step until you have used up all of your dough.
- Once your sauce is cooking boil your pici in a large saucepan of salted water for 10 minutes until al dente. I have found that, due to its thickness, pici pasta takes longer than fresh pasta usually does.
Chili Garlic Prawn Sauce
- In a large frying pan heat the oil on a medium heat and add the garlic, fry until lightly browned and softened and then add the chili flakes to cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the chopped stalks of your remaining handful of basil along with the cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes.
- Place the prawns into the pan and cook for one minute until the skin has turned pink and then add the tomato paste, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, peas and a ladle of your pasta water.
- Turn up the heat until this boils and then turn down and cook for a further minute so that the sauce becomes glossy. Try this sauce and add more seasoning to your taste and then stir in the basil and pasta and serve straight away.
Enjoy and let me know in the comments what you think.