Pici is the simplest pasta you could ever make. It doesn’t need a pasta machine or any special ingredients – just a bit of flour, semolina and water. It has a lovely chewy texture, and in this recipe the pici cooks in wine and the juices released from the mussels, so it’s full of flavour.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 French shallots, finely chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- 1 tomato, seeds removed, cut into 5 mm pieces
- 1 pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp warm water
- 1 kg mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
- ¼ cup finely shredded flat-leaf parsley
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 75 g (½ cup) strong bread flour
- 85 g (½ cup) semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) lukewarm water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 20 minutes
To make the pici dough, combine the flours and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and gradually add the water, mixing with a fork until it just comes together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.
Moisten the palms of your hands with a little water and, working quickly, roll the pici dough into one long noodle about 5 mm-thick. Lightly dust a board or tray with semolina flour and curl the noodle into a spiral. Set aside until needed.
Heat the oil in a mussel pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until slightly softened. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato and saffron and stir to combine.
Add the pici, and cook for 2 minutes, then season with a pinch of salt. Add the mussels and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the shells have opened. Scatter with the parsley and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the mussels with lemon wedges.