Ciceri e Tria is the best loved pasta of Lecce in Apulia, and of all the Salento area.
It is a simple Cucina Povera dish, a kind of Pasta e Fagioli made with rosemary and garlic scented chick peas. The Ciceri are chick peas and Tria is the word used in Apulia to refer to pasta that is dried or fried. In this case the pasta, which is similar to Tagliatelle in shape, is made with durum wheat (semolina) flour but without eggs.
The spark of genius in this dish is that part of the pasta is fried so that you get a lovely crunchiness alongside the smooth textured chick peas and the chewy durum wheat pasta. This dish is normally served a little wet and slightly soupy, but I decided mine would be on the dry side.
- 1 leek
- 1 carrot
- 3 cloves garlic
- a sprig of rosemary
- half pound flour
- half cup warm water
- ground nut oil for frying
- EVO oil
- salt and pepper
- optional chilli flakes
- Time is one of the ingredients of this dish, as you do need to make your own pasta for this dish to work, but you can use canned chick peas without losing any of the charm.
- I made the dish for two of us and used dried chick peas. I started by making an aromatic broth to cook the chick peas, a quarter pound of them that I'd put to soak the previous night. A leek, a bay leaf, a carrot and a celery stick, a couple of cloves of garlic and a sprig of muslin wrapped rosemary went into the pot with the chick peas. I covered them in plenty of water and left them to simmer gently till tender.
- I then got on with making the pasta dough. I combined half a pound of stone ground organic Senatore Cappelli flour with half a cup of warm water and worked them together well till the dough was very smooth. I'd bought the single variety flour at the local farmer's market. It is incredibly aromatic and filled the kitchen with heady bakery aromas.
- I left the dough to rest in a plastic bag for an hour or so while the chick peas simmered on, then I rolled it out on the pasta machine keeping it quite thick. I cut the noodles on the wider Tagliatelle setting floured them lightly and set them out to dry on a clean kitchen towel. And minced a single garlic clove real fine.
- By the time the chick peas were done it was time to cook the pasta. You cook it in with the chick peas so first I removed the aromatic herbs and vegetables, then I topped up the chick pea cooking water to have enough water to cook the pasta in.
- But not all of it. I separated out about a third for frying in peanut oil though some people fry more and some less than that. I fried it in small batches and placed each batch on absorbent paper when it was golden. I salted these crispy creatures and nibbled on one, just to be sure it was good. Then I salted the chick pea water generously - chick peas can be very bland if not well seasoned with salt - and tipped the remaining noodles into the broth.
- Fresh pasta cooks quickly so after very few minutes I scooped them out with a pasta fork and placed them in a sautÃ© pan with some good olive oil and the minced garlic, over the lowest heat, while I scooped up the chick peas which also went in the sautÃ© pan not too well drained. Plenty of black pepper (hot red chili flakes, but just a touch, are an alternative) and it was ready to serve, garnished with its golden crown of crunchy well salted dried pasta.
- We drizzled it with my best evo oil and though it is not the usual practice, we grated over some sharp Pecorino Sardo before tucking in. Yum!
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Serving Size 64g|
|Recipe makes 2 servings|
|Calories from Fat 33||53%|
|Total Fat 3.79g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 2.29g||9%|
|Trans Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 6.43g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1.6g||5%|