pici-0099Ok, let’s start from the title. I reckon many of you might not know what Pici is. And stracchino? I agree, a name too odd to be associated to something edible. Pici, Wikipedia says, is a thick, hand-rolled pasta, like a fat spaghetti, that originates in the province of Siena in Tuscany.

Stracchino is a type of Italian cow’s-milk cheese, a very young one, very soft, with a creamy texture and a mild and delicate flavour. You will not find yourself with a pestilential breath like after eating French soft cheeses, such as brie. No, this cheese is rather harmless (but I brushed my teeth after because one never knows…).


I have never heard about Pici in my life before my latest trip to Tuscany. Which could be either a symptom of my culinary ignorance or a sign of the vastness of the Italian cuisine, that with its strong regional roots is much much more than “lasagna” and “meatballs”.  I knew stracchino already, instead, thanks – and I am not ashamed to say – to this Italian TV ad where lots of pieces of stracchino fly over the Tuscan hills (!) to reach the table of an (atypical) Italian family.


Can’t find Pici? Replace them with thick spaghetti such as bucatini. Stracchino cheese is not flying over your farmlands directed to your table? It’s a HUGE pity, I know, but no worries: you can still use cream cheese or mascarpone, instead.


Tuscan Pici with Stracchino and Zucchini


  • 200 grams / 7 oz Pici or thick pasta
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of stracchino cheese or cream cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice the zucchini in slices.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil, add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add salt (a handful) and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until just under al dente.
  • Drain the Pici, and add to the skillet where zucchini were cooked in. Add the Stracchino, season with salt, pepper and toss.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.

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