In Cortona, the food reflects the tradition of Tuscany. In almost every restaurant you will find Steak Fiorentina (Chianina Cattle), pici pasta with different meat sauces, chicken liver crostini (also known as “crostino nero”) and many other Tuscan specialties. But this is the one dish that we can say is traditional Cortona, Pasta al Fumo.

This recipe was invented in the 70s by Andriana Biagianti Accordi, chef and owner of Tonino Restaurant in Cortona.

Tonino was the first “fancy” restaurant in town. Over the years it catered all over Italy for important VIP events hosting Italian presidents, Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and many others.

Pasta al Fumo was born during the winter of 1973. Adriana’s family went on a trip to Val d’Aosta, in the north of Italy, where they had just bought a house. They also brought with them the restaurant’s young helper, Santi Cenci, who is now the owner and chef of Trattoria Toscana in Cortona.

During their stay in Val D’Aosta, they went shopping to cook for the family and found smoked pancetta, a specialty of the Val D’Aosta area which you couldn’t find at that time in Cortona. Adriana had the intuition to mince the pancetta and use it in a sauce with cream, tomatoes and rosemary. They came back to Cortona and worked to perfect this new and “exotic” recipe. It is now famous all over Cortona as a typical, very local dish with a unique history!

At Joe’s are proud to present this recipe with all the ingredients available at Joe’s (marked with a “J” below) from Feb 1 to Feb 28.  Don’t want to eat at home? Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine is featuring this dish in their Carmel restaurant. At both Joe’s and Convivio a portion of revenue from sales of this dish will be donated to the 501(c)(3) non-profit Carmel-Cortona Sister City Committee. Enjoy and have some fun making this dish from the heart of Tuscany!

Pici Pasta al fumo: a Carmel Take on a Cortona Recipe

Pici Pasta al fumo: a Carmel Take on a Cortona Recipe

Ingredients

  • Pasta:
  • 4 cups of Caputo 00 flour (J)
  • 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt (J)
  • 1 cup of water
  • OR
  • Try with Nicole Taylor Buccatinni or Tagliatelle, sold at Joe's!
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (J)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (J)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, 1.5in long and cut into three equal parts (J)
  • 3.5oz or 1/4 lb of smoked pancetta or minced bacon (J)
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (J)
  • 3 tbsp. of tomato paste (J)
  • 1 generous shot of vodka (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (J)

Instructions

  1. Pasta Instructions: If you're making your own pasta, mix the flour and salt in a bowl and stream in the water. Mix with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
  2. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for about 15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll dough out into a rectangle so it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Then, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips. Roll out each strip until it’s round and about 1/4 inch thick and cut to be about 12 inches long, depending on how long you like your pasta! Doesn’t need to be perfect! Let rest on slightly floured sheet pans.
  4. Sauce Instructions: Place olive oil, 1 piece of rosemary, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden. Remove garlic and rosemary, and set aside in small glass bowl, now add pancetta/bacon to the pan and remaining 2 pieces rosemary. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until pancetta is golden-brown. Remove the rosemary.
  5. Add vodka and roughly chopped tomatoes, cook until the smell of alcohol is and tomatoes are broken down (4 minutes) then stir in tomato paste and cream. Bring to a low simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in red pepper flakes and add back in the pancetta/bacon from Step 1 and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is thick and deep orange in color. Taste and adjust with salt as you needed.
  7. While sauce is simmering, Boil the homemade Pici in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes, (or follow Nicole-Taylor fresh bucatini instructions on container) until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and then add the pici/bucatini to the sauce along with the pasta water. Stir until nice and creamy and beautiful then plate and enjoy!
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