What's in a name
Picchi pacchio, pronounced as ‘pee-ki pack-ioo. Some claim different yet similar names as correct. Picchiu pacchiu, pic pac, picchi pacchiu.
The unusual name may be onomatopoeic. Describing the sound the tomato makes when hitting the hot oil. Spatter, crackle, sputter and dabble sound far less exiting.
The ingredients are few. And therefor it is of utter importance they are fresh. Picchi pacchio is a summer dish. Because only in summer there are nice and fresh tomatoes. Garlic is an essential part. Take it away and you have yourself an orphaned dish. Good olive oil is fundamental. It makes or breaks the dish.
Basil should not be cut up. Leave the leaves as they come.
Prepare them snails
Preparing picchi pacchio
As it goes with popular dishes, there is more than one way of preparing. All versions, of course, claim to be the original.
The origins are the same. Onion and garlic are fried in olive oil. Peeled tomato is added. Some let it simmer away. Others turn the fire off as soon the tomato goes in. It is important not to reduce the tomato in a pulp.
Very interesting is the raw version. It does not contain onion. The mixture must rest for at least on hour.
Using picchi pacchio
Picchio pacchio is an excellent way to season pasta. It is fast and yet tasty. While the pasta boils away you prepare the sauce. Easy peasy.
This is also the base for two signature dishes of the Sicilian cuisine. Tenerumi, courgette sprigs. Yet another summer champion dish.
Babbaluci is the other recipe featuring picchiu pacchiu. These small snail are very popular in Palermo. Especially in summer time.
Variations on a theme
There are countless variations. And all have fervent opposers as well as fans. So it goes. Cheese or no cheese. Provolone or pecorino? Material to discuss while savoring a nice dish of pasta. Or while sucking away on delicious snails. At the end of the day, that is what summer is all about, right?