Alternatively, this post could be titled “pasta-making for idiots.”
Seriously, you guys, this recipe is so simple. Last week, I made a batch of spicy turkey meatballs and a pot of Marcella Hazan’s fantastic three-ingredient sauce (which I wrote about here; so sad she’s gone and so glad I got to meet her). I was all set to serve it with regular dry pasta from a box, but then I came across this recipe for fresh “pici” pasta on Adam Roberts’ excellent food blog, The Amateur Gourmet. All the recipe called for was all-purpose flour, salt, an egg and some water and olive oil. That’s it. No crazy-involved process; no pasta maker required.
The result was a light, doughy, chewy, buttery (!) pasta that was perfect with meatballs and tomato sauce. And you can totally do this on a weeknight: It takes five minutes to make the dough, 30 to chill it and then like 10, max, to actually make the pasta with your hands. (If you have kids, this would be such a fun project to do with them.) I hope you love it if you try it out.
Fresh Pici Pasta
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for tossing (my favorite is King Arthur)
1/2 a large egg, beaten to blend
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup room temperature water, plus extra if needed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg (note: I beat a whole egg and then added half the mixture) and the water and bring the dough together with a wooden spoon, adding more water a little at a time if needed. Knead the dough for five minutes, until very smooth and pliable, then flatten into a disk and rub both sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
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 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.
Bring a big pot of generously salted water to a boil and add pasta. Because it’s fresh, it won’t take nearly as long to cook as dry pasta–only about 2-3 minutes. After you’ve hit that mark, taste a piece of pasta to check for doneness. Serve immediately with sauce of your choice.