Pici Bolognese


  • Serves 20 people
  • 2 hrs preparation
  • 8 hrs cooking

This recipe makes more than double what you're likely to need, but can be divided into portions and stored in the freezer in zip-lock bags. It's best to make it a day in advance to allow the flavours of the soy and fish sauces to meld into the ragù.

  • 500 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 gm butter
  • To serve: finely grated parmesan
  • Ragù alla Bolognese
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 175 gm pancetta, cut into 5mm cubes
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 kg each coarsely minced veal and pork
  • 420 gm tomato paste
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 150 ml milk
  • 2-3 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
01   For the ragù alla Bolognese, first make a soffritto. Heat 100ml olive oil in a saucepan over very low heat, add onion, celery and carrot and stir occasionally until very tender but not caramelised (2-3 hours), then set aside. Cook pancetta and garlic in remaining oil in a separate extra-large saucepan over low-medium heat until fat renders from pancetta and garlic is translucent but not coloured (3-5 minutes). Add soffritto and stir until warmed through (1-2 minutes), then add minced meats, season to taste and cook until liquid evaporates (8-12 minutes). Add tomato paste and cook until the oil is stained with the tomato (2-4 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine (1-2 minutes), then add chicken stock (it should cover the meat) and rosemary, and cook over low-medium heat for 1½ hours. Add milk and cook until meat is tender and a thickened sauce forms (2 hours), then season to taste with fish and soy sauces. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight.
02   For pici dough, knead flour and 250ml water in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook until a smooth elastic dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate to rest (1 hour).
03   Roll out pici dough by hand to 5mm thick and cut into rectangles around 20cm wide. Cut each rectangle into thin strips around 1cm wide and roll out with hands to form long thin noodles (keep remaining dough covered while you roll). Place pici on a tray dusted with flour to stop it sticking together and set aside to dry slightly (2 hours).
04   Cook pici in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (2-3 minutes).
05   Meanwhile, heat the ragù in a saucepan until hot, then stir through butter, add pici, toss to combine and serve with parmesan to taste.
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