Pici All’Aglione is a popular Italian pasta dish from Tuscany. Very easy to make, it is perfect for busy weeknight meals or for gatherings with pasta lovers. Pici pasta (thick, long-shaped pasta) is cooked al-dented and coated with the most flavorful garlic tomato sauce. Here, the tanginess of crushed tomatoes meets the lusciousness of extra-virgin olive oil and the sweet perfume of cooked garlic. Pici All’Aglione reaches absolute perfection when paired with Tuscan wines such as Chianti Classico or Rosso di Montalcino. A perfect Italian food and wine pairing.

pici all'aglione in a bowl with a skillet and glass of wine on the side

Why you should try this recipe

  • Super easy pasta dish – made with only 6 ingredients and requires no complicated pasta cooking techniques, so you can make it successfully every time!
  • All-season friendly – this recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes and can therefore be enjoyed all year long. An Italian summer breeze in your kitchen whenever you need it!
  • Plant-based – this recipe is essentially vegan if you omit the optional shaved Pecorino Toscano shavings on top. Perfect for our vegan friends out there.
  • Wine pairing-friendly – while I love pairing this recipe with Sangiovese-based wines from Tuscany, it can be paired with a wide variety of wines, from light reds to crisp whites!
dried pici pasta, crushed tomatoes, cloves of garic, white wine, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper on a wooden board

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The 6 ingredients you’ll need

  • Pici pasta – fresh or dried is the perfect pasta shape to soak up all the delicious garlic tomato sauce. I strongly recommend the Italian brand, Morelli, which is widely available.
  • Garlic – “Aglione” is big mild garlic and is one of the key ingredients of this recipe. In this recipe, garlic is grated with a zester, ensuring it is perfectly incorporated into the tomato sauce. As the sauce is simmered for 20 minutes, the garlic loses its pungent raw garlic flavor to become milder and more perfumed.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes – choose good quality (preferably an Italian brand such as Mutti Polpa) for the best ripe tomato juiciness and flavor.
  • Dry white wine adds a depth of flavor to the sauce. Pinot Grigio is a good option!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – binds everything together thanks to its delicate perfume and lusciousness.
  • Salt and pepper – to season.
  • Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano Reggiano (optional) – shaved with a vegetable peeler to sprinkle on top.

What is pici pasta?

Pici, also known as Pici Toscani is a long thick pasta from Tuscany. It is traditionally made fresh and hand-rolled but can also be found dried (this is what I am using in this recipe). Pici is made with Italian durum wheat semolina, water, olive oil, and salt, and therefore eggless, making them a great option for vegan pasta recipes.

nests of dried pici pasta on a wooden board

Substitutes for pici pasta

Pici pasta might not be easily available where you live. Here, you can substitute it with Spaghetti di Gragnano or Linguine pasta! While thinner, these kinds of pasta will do the trick just fine.

How to make Pici All’Aglione?

  • Grate 6 peeled cloves of garlic with a zester.
grated garlic on a plate with a Microplane zester on the side
  • In a skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium flame.
  • Add the grated garlic and stir with a wooden spoon.

  • When the oil starts bubbling and the garlic starts to be fragrant (it should not turn golden), add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated.

  • Add the crushed tomatoes and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • Let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  • Cook the pici according to the package instructions until al dente. (Note that pici pasta takes usually a longer time than other pasta to cook – between 20 to 30 minutes depending on the brands).

Tip: Pici pasta can break easily. I, therefore, recommend not stirring them for the first 15 minutes (just let them sit in the bubbling water). After 15 minutes, it is safe to stir and swoosh them around to loosen them up.

pici pasta cooking in a large pot of water

  • While the pici and sauce are cooking, shave some Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano Reggiano, about ½ cup (45 g). This step is purely optional, omit it for a plant-based /dairy-free version!
Pamigiano shavings with a piece of Parmigiano on a plate

  • After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and add the freshly cracked pepper to the sauce.
  • Stir and set aside while the pici finish cooking.
  • When al dente, drain the Pici and add them directly to the garlic tomato sauce.
  • Using a pair of tongs, stir until all the pici are well coated and glossy.

close-up of pici all'aglione in cast iron skillet
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with the optional Pecorino or Parmigiano shavings.
  • Enjoy with a glass of Chianti Classico or Rosso di Montalcino! 

pici all'aglione in a bowl with another bowl on the side,  a glass of red wine and a fork

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

  1. Make sure to use a large pot full of well-salted boiling water. That way, pici will have enough space to expand and cook evenly. 
  2. Pici pasta can easily break if handled too strongly. I recommend not stirring it for the first 12-15 minutes of cooking (most of the time, pici cooking time is between 20 to 30 minutes).
  3. As always with pasta, make sure to cook it al dente (still firm in the center). It makes it easier to digest and much more flavorful. Tasting the pici helps to check the doneness of the pasta.
  4. The recipe can easily be made plant-based by skipping the optional Pecorino Toscano/ Parmigiano Reggiano!

pici all'aglione in a bowl with another bowl on the side,  a glass of red wine and a fork

Wine Pairing for Pici All’Aglione🍷


CHIANTI CLASSICO

A recipe from Tuscany calls, in my opinion, for a glass of local wine. Enters Sangiovese, the main red grape variety from Tuscany! Sangiovese produces wines that usually display aromas of plum, and red cherries, with earthy undertones and some herbal notes. Perfect to bring out the fruitiness and savoriness of the Pici All’Aglione.

Its vibrant acidity makes it the ideal candidate to match the tartness of crushed tomatoes, while its medium-to-full body compliments the weight of extra-virgin olive oil and the sweetness of cooked garlic.

In a nutshell: this is the perfect match for these Pici All’Aglione!

WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS

  • Chianti Classico DOCG (Tuscany, Italy) – I especially recommend the wines from the sub-region Panzano in Chianti which are all organic and very high-quality
  • Rosso di Montalcino DOCG (Tuscany, Italy)

close-up of pici all'aglione in a cast iron skillet

FAQ

How long does this keep?

Pici All’Aglione is best enjoyed immediately. However, leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I don’t like cooking with wine. Is this mandatory?

No, you can skip the wine altogether! The tasty will be slightly different but still delicious.

Can I make Pici All’Aglione ahead of time?

The garlic tomato sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge. When ready to enjoy, just reheat the sauce in a skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. I recommend cooking the pici pasta at the last minute, as pasta often gets overcooked and soggy when reheated.

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pici all'aglione in a bowl with a skillet and glass of wine on the side

Pici All'Aglione (Pici Pasta with Garlic Tomato Sauce)

5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 25 minutes
Total Time : 35 minutes
Servings : 4
Pici All'Aglione is a popular Italian pasta dish from Tuscany. Very easy to make, it is perfect for busy weeknight meals or for gathering with pasta lovers. Pici pasta (thick long shape pasta) is cooked al dented and coated with the most flavorful garlic tomato sauce. Here, the tanginess of crushed tomatoes meets the lusciousness of extra-virgin olive oil and the sweet perfume of cooked garlic. Pici All’Aglione reaches absolute perfection when paired with Tuscan wines such as Chianti Classico or Rosso di Montalcino. A perfect Italian food and wine pairing.

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 17.6 ounces (500 g) dried or fresh Pici pasta (alternatively, use Spaghetti di Gragnano or Linguine)
  • 2 14 ounce cans (800 g) good-quality crushed tomatoes
  • 6 big cloves of garlic grated with a microplane zester
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) dry white wine
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • ½ cup (45 g) Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved with a vegetable peeler, to serve (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the garlic tomato sauce:

  • Start by grating 6 cloves of peeled garlic with a zester. 
  • In a skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium flame.
  • Add the grated garlic and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • When the oil starts bubbling and the garlic starts to be fragrant (it should NOT turn golden), add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • Let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Meanwhile, cook the pici:

  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  • Cook the pici according to the package instructions until al dente. Tip: Pici pasta can break easily. I, therefore, recommend not stirring them for the first 15 minutes (just let them sit in the bubbling water). After 15 minutes, it is safe to stir and swoosh them around to loosen them up.
  • While the pici and sauce are cooking, shave some Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano Reggiano, about ½ cup (45 g). This step is purely optional, omit it for a plant-based /dairy-free version!
  • After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and add the freshly cracked pepper to the sauce.
  • Stir and set aside while the pici finish cooking.

Assemble the pici all'aglione:

  • When al dente, drain the Pici and add them directly to the garlic tomato sauce.
  • Using a pair of tongs, stir until all the pici are well coated and glossy.
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with the optional Pecorino or Parmigiano shavings.
  • Enjoy with a glass of Chianti Classico or Rosso di Montalcino! 

NOTES

  1. Make sure to use a large pot full of well-salted boiling water to cook the pici. That way, pici will have enough space to expand and cook evenly. 
  2. Pici pasta can easily break if handled too strongly. I recommend not stirring it for the first 12-15 minutes of cooking (most of the time, pici cooking time is between 20 to 30 minutes).
  3. As always with pasta, make sure to cook the pici al dente (still firm in the center). It makes it easier to digest and much more flavorful. Tasting helps to check the doneness of the pasta.
  4. The recipe can easily be made plant-based by skipping the optional Pecorino Toscano / Parmigiano Reggiano!
Calories: 749kcalCarbohydrates: 110gProtein: 24gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 1003mgPotassium: 901mgFiber: 8gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 480IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 237mgIron: 5mg
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Diet Vegetarian
Did you make this recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below to let me know how it went!
5 from 1 vote

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