One fall, we decided to let our truffle addiction lead us to a new town in Umbria, the truffle capital of Italy, Norcia. Norcia is known for its truffles and the horrific magnitude 6.6 earthquake that shook this charming little town to destruction back in 2016. It destroyed the entire village. When we visited in 2021, the poor town was under construction but mostly still rubble. We stayed at Palazzo Seneca, a lovely hotel, built in the 16th century. The Michelin-starred hotel restaurant, Vespasia, is outstanding. I encourage you to visit this town to support them in their efforts to rebuild their businesses, homes, and lives. Every day I was in Norcia, I would order their local black truffle dish of the day. This recipe is my version of a black truffle and anchovy pasta I enjoyed very much. I pair this pasta with a glass of Elve’, an Umbrian Grechetto wine from Madrevite.
Pici are big, thick, hand-made spaghetti. They are made with just flour and water. If you want to learn how to make fresh pasta by hand, I suggest starting with pici. They are easy and fun to make. Pici are typical of the Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana in the southern part of Tuscany. It was at the organic pasta mill, Mulino Val d’Orcia, located in Pienza, Italy, where I experienced this dish for the first time. Aglione, also known as “Aglione di Valdichiana,” is a giant garlic variety grown in this area and is still cultivated using traditional techniques that have been handed down since the time of the Etruscans. I recommend the aglione sauce with a glass of Tuscan Sangiovese like Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino, the baby brother to the famed Brunello but at a fraction of the cost.
One of my favorite hot summer evening dinners to make is pesto sauce tossed with zucchini spaghetti (made with a spiralizer). No cooking is required, and it tastes delicious! Last summer, I was preparing this, and I wondered what the pesto would taste like with some zucchini. Another way for me to disguise a vegetable so my husband will eat it 🙂 I chopped up a few zucchini and tipped them into the food processor along with the pesto ingredients, and viola, zucchini pesto! It was super yummy, not to mention the added health benefits. Whether you serve this sauce over zucchini noodles or pasta, I like to pair it with a crisp, chilled glass of Valente Montonico Emozione No. 1 from Abruzzo.
Note: Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I also like to freeze it in ice molds to have on hand.