Seven months ago my husband and I had shiny new bands on our fingers, spent our days walking up and down hilly ruins, kept up a red wine buzz, oh, about 50% of the time, and enjoyed Tuscan ragu, or Pici al Ragu, for dinner most nights.
Yep, this is another post inspired by our amazing Italian honeymoon, particularly on our time in the Tuscan hill town of Montepulciano.
Our first night in Montepulciano, we walked to the nearest cafe and ordered off the menu, probably something like pizza and lasagna. The owner deftly refused our requests and instead told us he’d bring us the local specialty, pici pasta with boar ragu. Maybe he was just out of lasagna and the pizza oven was broken, BUT I like to think he knew best. Another night, at a highly-rated raucous restaurant with communal seating, one of our courses was pici pasta with rabbit ragu. Rabbit ragu…may be intimidating, but it was the best variation I’ve had yet. A third common option is pork ragu, which I ran with because it’s so easy to find here in the States.
(When I originally planned to make this recipe with rabbit, I was a bit relieved at the meat counter when my request was countered with a “Uh, of course we don’t have rabbit.” Watership Down is still close to my heart, so no regrets.)
Pici pasta is basically extra thick spaghetti, with a nice chewiness. The Italians make them from scratch, and I hope to make them at some point but…but…check out the colorful farfalle noodles! Feel free to have a pici pasta making party (here is a promising recipe), but both farfalle and penne pastas have served me well.
Want your house to smell like Tuscany? Have a Dutch oven simmering on the stove all evening with the delightful scents of red wine, pork and onion. Eating at 9 p.m. was rough, but so. worth. it.