Food & Drink Magazine

Happy Groundhog Day! A Tuscan Pasta Recipe to Celebrate…

By Marialiberati

copyright 2018 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,inc/Maria Liberati

Every Holiday has a story to tell! While it’s fun to also gives more meaning to the day if you know its’ origins.

Although groundhog day seems like a truly American Holiday it looks like its’ origins are in Montepulciano to be exact ( one of my favorite towns in Tuscany)..

Once upon a time a hermit that lived in a cave began observing hedgehogs (close relative to a groundhog) and started predicting the weather by the behavior of the hedgehogs. He was predicting the weather to help the winemakers in Montepulciano for their grape growing and harvesting seasons. If the hedgehog would get scared of its’ shadow he knew good weather was coming, if not he knew bad weather was on its’ way and he would advise the villagers. His method was so successful that it was almost thought of as magic!

The Vatican, who in those days got involved in everything, began investigating this hermit and was almost going to condemn him as a heretic. But turns out that he was really able to predict the weather using hedgehogs and the Vatican decided to reward him for helping the winemakers. He was ultimately made a Cardinal Riccio di Ricci.

Riccio is the Italian word for hedgehog and the cave he lived in is now a wine cellar in Montepulciano

Happy Groundhog Day! A Tuscan Pasta Recipe to Celebrate…

In Honor of Punxsatawney Phil and his Tuscan hedgehog cousin..celebrate with a dish from Montepulciano..this dish uses the traditional pasta in Montepulciano-pici pasta- but if you can’t find pici pasta use spaghetti instead….

Pici Pasta with Toasted Breadcrumbs (Pici con le  Briciole)

1 lb of day old bread

1 onion or 2 leeks or 2 scallions

small handful of fresh parsley leaves chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

extra virgin olive oil

! lb of pasta (pici or spaghetti) cooked till al dente)

Place day old crusty bread in food processor till reduced to bread crumbs. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in saute pan with chopped garlic and onion, saute for 1 minute , add in  1/4 cup Montepulciano, add in bread crumbs to toast. When bread crumbs are toasted, add in chopped parsley and saute. Cook pasta till al dente and place in saute pan with bread crumb mixture place on low heat and toss. Serve with pecorino cheese and fresh parsley.

For more Holidays and recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition

Happy Groundhog Day! A Tuscan Pasta Recipe to Celebrate…

 Celebrate Carnevale with me on February 11th- at Casa Casale in Lahaska, Pa for a Carnevale lunch…registration is limited call Casa Casale at 215-489-8889  to reserve your spot..

February 24th..join me in a ricotta making class at Casa Casale in Lahaska, Pa, Call  215-489-8889 to reserve your place..registration is limited

*If you would like to have an  event by The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm for your venue, gourmet store, corporate event, fundraiser,  special event, email : [email protected] fro a free proposal!

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