Pici with Tuscan Ragu

Makes 8 Servings
Pici is a traditional Tuscan pasta made simply with flour, salt, water and a little olive oil. It is hand-rolled and cut into thick long strands. It is best served with a thick, rich sauce. Every Tuscan cook knows that the secret of a fabulous sauce is the sofrito. This trinity of finely minced onion, carrot and celery is gently sautéed until soft and fragrant becoming the foundation on which you build the ragu.
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  • 2 Italian sausages
  • ½ pound (250g) ground beef, lean
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons (2g) fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil, extra virgin
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 28 ounces (796ml) plum tomatoes, canned (San Marzano are the best!)
  • 1 cup (200ml) water, as needed
  • sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground 
  • 1 pound (500g) Pici pasta 
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated


Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery.  Sauté the vegetables in a large pot with olive oil over medium/low heat until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes.  

Remove the sausages from their casings and add to the pot along with the ground beef. Increase the heat to medium/high and cook until browned.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Add the wine and continue to cook for another minute to evaporate the alcohol.  Then add the canned tomatoes, crushing them on the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to break them down.  Add the fennel and rosemary.  

Give a good stir, cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce has reduced too much, add ½ - 1 cup (120 - 240ml) of water.  Continue to simmer for another 20-30 minutes. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pici and cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta and toss with the ragu.  

Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. 


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