This is a simple, easy to make dish from Tuscany which literally translates to Pici with big garlic.
-1 lb. Pici pasta from Tuscany
-2 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
-4 to 6 cloves of roughly chopped garlic (or more, if you like)
-1 to 2 dried, whole red peppers crushed by hand, or 1 tbsp red pepper flakes or Bomba di Calabria hot pepper paste
-1.25 lbs. of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand*
1 cup reserved pasta water
Because Pici pasta has a cook time of about 20 minutes and the sauce can be made relatively fast, start your pasta first by bringing a pot with 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. NOTE: Do not cook your Pici completely. Rather strain it when it is close to done, being sure to remove your 1 cup of reserved pasta water first, and add it to your pan of sauce to finish cooking. This will also absorb some liquid in your sauce, so if your sauce is a little thin, this will thicken it up. If your sauce is a little thick, add some of your reserved pasta water little by little to your desired thickness is obtained.
Using a large, preheated sauté pan, add 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and dried, crushed red pepper or hot pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is slightly brown, but not burned. If you are using Bomba di Calabria hot pepper paste, do not add it here. You will add it after the tomatoes. Add your hand crushed San Marzano tomatoes* along with their juice. Cook under medium heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Drain. Add your almost cooked Pici and blend with the sauce. When your pici is cooked to your taste, pull it from the heat and into your favorite serving dish. Finish with a drizzle of your premium extra virgin olive oil and serve. Serves four.
*Crush the San Marzano tomatoes in a bowl with your hand, first, then add to your pan. NOTE: Do not squeeze the tomatoes uniformly or too firmly as you risk the insides of the them shooting out and making a mess. Rather, be gentle, holding the tomato with your palm facing down, and slowly dig you fingertips into the tomato and twist them in. Then crush to your desired texture.