Make your own fresh, handmade pasta in the comfort of your own home with this easy, no egg dough, pici pasta! The pici is doused in a creamy, umami rich sauce with a special ingredient - black garlic - and fresh basil.
I know. Trust me, I know. You're like "what the heck is black garlic???" It's not the most popular ingredient because in the U.S. but I've seen it make it's way into Asian and Italian restaurants in NYC.
If you're a garlic lover like I am, I am absolutely sure you're going to love this Italian - Asian fusion creamy black garlic basil-infused pici pasta. The black garlic is full of umami and sweetness balanced out by rich heavy cream and herby basil.
Making pici at home is incredibly relaxing and a fun time for a date night at home. It requires no extra equipment besides what you likely already have on hand at home.
What is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is NOT fermented. White garlic bulbs are aged in a controlled environment over the course of a few weeks or even months until it turns inky black in color. At this point, the black garlic's flavor and texture have completely transformed. It no longer smells as strong as white garlic, tastes a lot milder, it's sweet and umami-rich, and the texture is soft and sticky.
You can make your own black garlic by wrapping up regular garlic tightly in foil and using a dehydrator at 140°F for 4-6 weeks. It does take a while but you really don't have to do anything besides wrap it in foil and let it dehydrate!
Once it's done, unwrap it and let it sit at room temperature for a day or two. It should be completely pitch black when it's ready. You can even make Instant Pot black garlic on the "Keep Warm" setting.
Black garlic is a great ingredient to add to your shopping list because it's so versatile. My mind immediately goes to homemade focaccia with rosemary and black garlic, vinaigrettes that can be added to salad or broths, pizza topping (maybe even pizza sauce?), or infused with butter.
Resources for Pasta Making
Now for the pasta! I'm going to fully admit that I'm new-ish to making pasta at home. I've always been intimidated by the process even though my guilty pleasure is watching YouTube videos of pasta making at 2am. Eventually I decided to rip off that Bandaid and take a go at it while I was sheltering in place. I purchased 00 flour and semolina on Amazon but you can find these flours in most grocery stores.
As a newbie, the process took a little longer than I imagined because I wasn't completely sure what I was looking for. But the internet is sooo right! Taking the leap and making your own pasta at home is 100% worth it! It's a therapeutic process.
I'd highly recommend checking out Pasta Social Club if you're new to pasta making. Meryl makes it incredibly accessible with her recipes on her website and Instagram. She also has virtual pasta making classes! I also absolutely adore Pasta Grannies and have their cookbook on my "to buy" list.
How to make Pici
Pici is typically a long, hand-rolled spaghetti that's suitable for beginners. The dough only requires 00 flour, salt, olive oil, and water. My recipe is for two servings, so double the recipe for more pici.
Step 1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the 00 flour and salt. Create a well, add the oil, and then slowly add in the water while combining together with a fork. Once the dough starts to form, dump it out on a wooden surface and knead the dough until it's firm and smooth for 10 minutes. If the dough is too dry, wet your fingertips to incorporate more water as needed. If it's too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time. The dough is done when you poke it with your finger and it bounces back.
Step 2. Set the dough back into a bowl and brush it with olive oil to keep it from drying. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Step 3. After the dough has rested, cut it into four equal pieces (or two for longer pieces). Brush the first piece with olive oil. Cover the rest of the pasta dough so it doesn't dry out. Roll out the quarter of the dough so that it's fairly thin and cut it into equal sized strips. Use your hands to quickly rub and roll out each strip into about a ¼-inch thick string. Dust each piece of pici with semolina as you create a little nest of coils for them to prevent them from sticking.
Step 4. Continue this process for the rest of the quarter slabs.
Step 5. Cook the pasta immediately in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
How to make a Creamy Black Garlic Sauce
Making the sauce could not be easier! All you have to do is puree black garlic cloves and heavy cream or light cream in a blender or food processor until smooth. You'll have a thick and creamy black sauce that's ready to toss into the pan with some melted butter and fresh basil.
If you need to thin it out, you can use some pasta water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Black garlic is not new to the market, but it's also not that easy to find. While I've seen some Asian grocers carry black garlic based sauces, black garlic itself doesn't seem to be readily accessible. Either way, I'd recommend checking out South East Asia Food Group if you're in the NYC area, asking your local Asian grocers, Amazon, or ordering a black garlic sauce to work with. It's totally worth it.
To learn more about black garlic, check out Japanese company, Momiki. They export several of their products to the U.S. and it's where I get all my black garlic products from.
If you're not in the schmood to make pasta at home but you're hype about black garlic, I feel ya. It's definitely a weekend project for me. A great alternative is grabbing some fresh spaghetti or linguine at your grocery store or dried bucatini.
Absolutely, but it defeats the purpose of this recipe since black garlic and garlic are very different flavor profiles.
More Pasta Recipes to Try
Black Garlic Pici Pasta
- 150 g '00 flour'
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
- pinch of salt
Black Garlic Sauce
- 9 cloves black garlic
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tbs water, if necessary
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- handful fresh basil
- grated pecorino, for garnish
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 00 flour, olive oil, and salt. Slowly add in the water while combining the mixture together with a fork. Dump out the dough on a wooden surface and knead until firm and smooth - about 10 minutes.
- Set the dough back into a bowl and brush it with a bit of olive oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a towel and let it rest for an hour.
- While the dough rests, start prepping the black garlic sauce. Add the heavy cream and black garlic cloves to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
- After the dough has rested, cut it into four equal pieces. Brush a piece of the dough with olive oil. Cover the rest of the pasta dough. Roll out the quarter of the dough and cut it into equal sized strips. Use your hands to roll each strip into about a ½ inch thick string. Continue this method for the rest of the quarter slabs.
- Now that everything is prepped, add the pici to a pot of salted boiling water and cook for 2-4 minutes until done. In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoon of butter. Add the black garlic sauce to the pan. Toss in the basil and allow it to infuse with the sauce for a minute.
- Once the pici is cooked, transfer the pasta to the black garlic sauce and toss it until it's well coated. Once done, plate the pasta and garnish it with pecorino and additional fresh basil leaves.
- Kneading the pasta: You can skip hand kneading the pasta if you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
- The black garlic sauce will darken significantly as soon as it heats in the pan.
- A great alternative to making fresh pici is grabbing some fresh spaghetti or linguine at your grocery store or dried bucatini.