Hailing from the Tuscan province of Siena, these noodles look like an extra-plump version of spaghetti. Frescoes of banquets with bowls of pici suggest that its origins date back to Etruscan times. Pici is traditionally served one of three ways: with pecorino cheese and pepper (cacio e pepe), topped with toasted breadcrumbs in olive oil (pici con le bricole), and in a garlicky tomato sauce (pici all’aglione).
Simply crafted from flour, water, and salt, this rustic handmade pasta was an important staple in Italy’s rural peasant population. Making pici was a pastime for children and family elders while adults went to work in the fields. Using a long wooden pici board, the dough is cut into pieces and rolled out by hand to a length of up to several meters. Tuscan towns like Montalcino still host contests to see who can make the longest strand.
Also try in Tuscany: flat, wide pappardelle smothered in wild boar sauce and ruffled gigli served with ragù, swiss chard, and fresh ricotta.