pici aglione
Photo © Giulia Scarpaleggia

Pici all’aglione

The history of pici has its roots in ancient Etruscan culture. The first record of this dish dates back to the fifth century B.C. and can be found in the Tomb of the Leopards in Tarquinia, a funerary monument. In fact, a banquet is depicted there, in which a long, irregular pasta appears, which we can presume to be one of the first “ancestors of pici”.

From the town in the Viterbo region, the preparation of this type of pasta spread first to the Val di Chiana, and then throughout all of Tuscany. Pici are considered a “poor” dish, typical for peasants, due to its simplicity of ingredients. The true richness of this pasta consists in the ability to season it with a wide variety of sauces: from rabbit liver sauce, to meat sauce or to simple “breadcrumbs”. However, the seasoning that best lends itself is, without doubt, “aglione”.

What is aglione?

Aglione di Chiana is a valued product that is becoming more and more rare. It consists of giant white garlic bulbs, seemingly ivory-colored and almost sphereshaped. Each of these contains around 6 separate, large bulbs. The taste is extremely delicate, and excellent for use in many recipes.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 360 grams Pici
  • 4-5 cloves aglione (100-110 gr.)
  • 300/350 grams peeled tomatoes or pulp
  • oil to taste
  • salt
  • white wine

1 Pour 4 tablespoons of oil into a pan and sauté the crushed aglione on low heat. Mix in half a glass of white wine, cover and let it cook over a medium heat for around 15 minutes.
2 Using a fork, crush the pieces of aglione until they are all chopped in small pieces. Pour in the tomatoes and salt.
3 Continue to cook, lowering the heat until it reaches the desired consistency. In the meantime, boil the salted water for the pasta.
4 Immerse the pici and, once they have cooked, which usually takes around 18 minutes, drain them while they are al dente, and add them to the aglione sauce in order to flavor them.

Serve hot.

I Comuni di Terre di Siena