Try the traditional dish of Ciceri e Tria (Chickpeas and Pasta) as recommended by Godalming author Patrick Ebbs in his book about all things to do with Puglia, Reale Italian Cooking – Italian recipes from Reale Italians.
This is a very traditional and popular Salento dish. Tria is Salento dialect and originates from the Arab word ‘triya’ meaning pasta. Its name is probably a legacy of the Arabs who once invaded southern Italy. With this recipe, most of the pasta is boiled as per normal, but about a quarter of it is fried until it is golden brown, giving the dish a lovely, crispy texture. The recipe is included below.
Ciceri e Tria (Chickpeas and Pasta)
• 400g chickpeas
• 1 potato, peeled and chopped
• 1 celery stalk, chopped
• 5 tomatoes, chopped
• parsley, a handful
• 1 garlic clove, peeled & chopped
• salt and pepper
• 1 bay leaf
• 400g fresh pasta, tagliatelle
• 1 onion, chopped
Note: you can use tinned chickpeas if you wish (1 tin)
If not using tinned chickpeas, soak the chickpeas overnight in lukewarm water.
Next day, thoroughly wash the chickpeas, drain and rinse. Put them in a pan and cover completely with water.
Bring to boil and simmer for about 2-3 hours until cooked.
Skim the excess foam from the top – ensure that the chickpeas are always covered in water whilst cooking.
In another pot, heat some olive oil. When hot, add the celery, parsley, garlic, bay leaf, onion, potato and tomatoes.
Fry for 2-3 minutes, then add a litre of water and cook for about 2½ hours over a medium heat. Then drain and just keep the liquid, discarding the vegetables.
Drain the chickpeas when cooked and take 5 tablespoons of them and blend with a little of the stock. Add this back to the stock.
Combine the stock and the chickpeas together. Season with salt and pepper.
Take a quarter of the pasta and cut it into 10cm strips and fry in olive oil.
Meanwhile, cook the remainder of the pasta and when cooked combine with the fried pasta.
Then add to a large warmed serving bowl with the chickpeas.