PICI ALL' AGLIONE | PICI PASTA WITH GARLIC SAUCE
Aglione (Elephant Garlic) are not simply "big" garlic cloves, but a typical Tuscan variety of the garlic family. The scientific name is Allium ampeloprasum var. holmense and its uniqueness is not only the size (see the cork for reference!!) but also the particularly pleasant and mild taste, as compared to common garlic (Allium sativu).
This variety, which is much more digestible, leaves less trace on the breath and has earned the title of "garlic of the kiss." Typically you would eat this sauce with homemade pasta called Pici (included in the recipe below) but any kind of pasta could work well here.
In the absence of aglione, our cook Pietrina shares that even common garlic is an excellent substitute—making the sauce stronger in taste and an excellent antidote for vampires!
500 gr (4 cups) flour
1 cup water
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Ingredients: GARLIC SAUCE
4 elephant garlic cloves (or substitute a greater quantity of common garlic), finely chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch hot pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
INSTRUCTIONS: GARLIC SAUCE
In a pan, heat the olive oil and garlic on low and sauté for about 1 minute—if you leave it too long, it can become bitter. When the garlic is just turning golden, add a pinch of hot pepper flakes, the tomato sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Alternatively, you can use any store-bought pasta.
Put the flour in a bowl and add the egg, water, and oil. Mix together with a fork or your hands, until it is a uniform texture.
Transfer from the bowl to a hard surface and knead the dough for about 15 minutes. You can add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Cover the dough with a towel and leave to “rest” at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Divide the dough in half and cover one half. Take the other half and roll it out using a rolling pin until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Put a few drops of olive oil on top of the rolled dough and gently rub it into the top surface. Cut the dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips (the length will vary based on how you rolled the dough).
On a very clean surface with a drop of olive oil (no flour!) take a strip and hold one end of it in your left hand. With your right hand, begin at the opposite end of the strip to gently roll the dough in a back and forth motion (between your hand and the hard surface) until it is round. Keep rolling all the way up the strip from right to left (until your right hand reaches your left) and until the entire strip forms a very long (even a foot!) pici noodle that is as uniform as possible.
It will look like a slightly fat and very long spaghetti strand. When you are done with each strand, place it on a well floured surface and begin a new one until you have used all the dough.
PREPARE & SERVE
Cook all the pici in a big pot of well-salted boiling water for a few minutes, until al dente. (Or, if using store-bought pasta, cook according to al dente package instructions.) Mix the pasta and sauce together, and serve topped with parmesan cheese.