Fall Inspired Flavors from Siena & Montalcino

Fall Inspired Flavors from Siena & Montalcino

by Dejou Marano

As we turn yet another page of the summer calendar and desperately try to hold on to the fleeting moments of warm weather that remain, the siren call of Siena’s earthy, fall flavors prove just too irresistible to ignore.

There is perhaps no better way to celebrate the flavors of fall than in the Tuscan kitchen, where the rusticity of crusty bread, roasted vegetables and nutty olive oil marry joyfully with the heartiness of grilled meats, slow cooked legumes and the bold, ruby bounty of the vineyards. And where do the quintessential flavors of Tuscany come together in one masterful dish? With Siena’s very own pici of course. A beloved pasta with roots in Tuscany’s Siena province, pici (or pinci) are lusciously thick, golden strands of hand-rolled pasta that are absolutely perfect in their imperfection. Each strand unique in size and thickness, pici derive their charm from their hand made quality and rustic appearance, and besides that, their velvety and delicious texture. Dressed with anything from garlic and tomato to breadcrumbs, porcini mushrooms or heartier meat sauces, pici are a delightful dish to prepare when the light seems to turn everything a beautiful shade of gold and amber. So while we bask in the glow of another warm summer day, let us dream of the days to come, when the aroma of tartufi, chestnuts and porcini will dazzle our palates and fill our kitchens.

To add delightfully rich Tuscan flavor to your autumnal table, we’ve included one of our favorite recipes for pici from celebrated chef, author and ambassador of authentic Italian gastronomy, the Commendatore Antonio Carluccio. Easy to prepare but with tremendous results, this recipe is anchored by the freshness of a few simple, yet quality ingredients.

PICI WITH PORK RAGU (PICI O PINCI AL RAGU DI MAIALE)

from Chef Antonio Carluccio

Serves 6

Ingredients

•    400g (1 lb.) pici or pinci (or the largest spaghetti as possible)
•    80g (1/2 cup) pecorino cheese or Parmesan, freshly grated
•    6 tbsp olive oil
•    1 small onion, finely chopped
•    1 celery stalk, finely diced
•    1 carrot, finely diced
•    400g (1 lb.) pork mince (not too fatty)
•    100ml (1/2 cup) dry red wine
•    500g (18 oz.) polpa di pomodoro or chunky passata
•    5-6 bay leaves
•    Salt and pepper

Instructions

To make the ragu, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion, celery and carrot, and fry gently until soft. Add the meat and stir to brown a little, then add the bay leaves and some seasoning. Cook very slowly for two hours.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, about 15-17 minutes. Toss with the sauce and serve with grated cheese.

The original recipe can be found here.

AND TO DRINK…

Looking for the perfect wine to pair alongside Pici with Pork Ragu? Nothing could be better than another titan of the Siena province, Brunello di Montalcino. The ultimate celebration of the Sangiovese grape, Brunello wines must be comprised of 100% Sangiovese and aged a minimum of two years in wooden barrels while refining another four months in bottles. Opening a bottle of Brunello is to experience a concerto of bold notes ranging from aromatic woods and brush to vanilla and blackberry jam, black cherries and violets. Best matched with robust flavors, Brunello is delicious with savory meats, cheeses, hearty sauces and roasted game.

1 thought on “Fall Inspired Flavors from Siena & Montalcino”

  1. Pingback: Vin Santo: Sweet Wine of the Gods - CountryBred

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