This pasta goes by a whole lotta names in, and around, Viterbo – lombrichelli, umbrichelli, strigoli, stratte to name a few – and also of which tuscan pici drew instant recognition. Food gurus will know pici, and who doesn’t love eating this wonderfully toothy pasta in a delicious sauce of wild boar in Tuscany? I tried these the old-fashioned way but first let me make one thing clear: this is a work of love, so don’t be attempting it if your middle name is impatient.
Lombrichelli for 2 people1½ cups (200 grams) farina “00” or all-purpose flour
generous pinch of salt
about ½ cup water
Combine the 3 ingredients to form a smooth dough that is not too soft, neither too firm. Depending on the humidity level of the flour you may need to use less or more water. Knead for about 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic; let rest, covered for 10 minutes.
Pinch off cherry-sized pieces of dough and roll into short logs using the palm of your hand. Proceed to roll and elongate the dough into thick strands, using your palms and eventually fingers to shape the strands to a thickness of about 1/8-inch in diameter.
Section into 8 to 12-inch lengths, generously dust with flour and set aside to dry for several hours before cooking. I gathered mine in a loose clump as the humidity level is low in my kitchen, but it would be better to keep the strands somewhat separated in humid areas. To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil, lightly salt it and cook pasta for 2 minutes max. At first I went with 3 minutes and they were slightly overdone. Drain and serve with sauce.
Sauce alla viterbese
This tomato-based sauce has many versions so it’s up to you if you want to add pork sausage or onions to give it some oomph. I believe that to make it alla viterbese, you’ll have to add a bit of hot pepper and have grated pecorino piccante to sprinkle over the finished dish. I went with the simple version: tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper, salt; simmer over a low flame until the flavors develop deep and fabulous. Our garden tomatoes went gangbusters while we were gone and I am up to my ears in heirlooms. If the lombrichelli-making burned you out real bad, there’s always premade sauce from the supermarket. Don’t sweat it, who’s gonna tell?