Back to Italy we go for our dish today….follow me down south to the regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania and this recipe known as LAGANE E CECI will show up in kitchens that stick to the old ways. Certainly that doesn’t mean it’s a stodgy musty old dish, in fatto, with this recipe you will feel very Hipster Brooklyn. Get that? OK.. A dish of this LAGANE pasta which is sort of somewhere between Lasagne sheets and a wide Tagliatelle. The actual LAGANE are a rustic pasta made with no eggs and unless you make them yourself you’re out of luck in the USA finding that pasta. No worries. I’m giving you MY rendition of this delicious dish. Use Lasagne noodles. Cooked just till al dente. You want some chew to the pasta. When thinking MEDITERRANEAN DIET this has got to be a dish that shows up. It’s yet another Italian pairing of Beans or Peas and Pasta with a flavorful base. In the wooded hinterlands between Calabria and Basilicata there use to be roaming bandits called I BRIGANTI. They were known as thieves who ate copious amounts of pasta, specifically LAGANA or LAGANE and were given the name “SCOLALAGANE”. Don’t you love Food history?(the looting SCOLALAGANE in a picture from the internet). In my ancestral homeland of Basilicata often Sage or Rosemary is the aromatic herb used to flavor the dish. In my kitchen I prefer using fresh Rosemary. Up to you! Of course with roots in Calabria and Basilicata you KNOW there will be a chile component to the recipe. Diavulicchiu or Peperoncino, Calabrian hot dried peppers..any of them work. The earthy herbs and chick peas and the chewy pasta with the chiles are Italian regional food magic. It’s an addictive dish. And easy. Let’s cook!
LAGANE E CECI ALLA A FOOD OBSESSION
TIME: 1 HOUR SERVES: 4-5
1 lb LASAGNA , cooked AL DENTE, then cooled on a rack. Then slice lengthwise into 1 inch strips. OR us 1 lb PAPPARDELLE, also cooked AL DENTE, drained. OR `1 LB MAFALDE
2 CUPS COOKED CHICK PEAS (CECI), drained
3 TBS. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
3 SLICED CLOVES OF GARLIC
1 TBS TOMATO PASTE
SALT to taste
1 SPRIG FRESH ROSEMARY or 3 FRESH SAGE LEAVES
3/4 TBS CHILE PEPPER FLAKES (PEPERONCINO) or adjust to your heat tolerance.
GRATED RICOTTA SALATA or PECORINO , about 1/2 cup
In a wide heavy pan heat 2 tbs of the olive oil. Then add the garlic and peperoncino and let this get JUST to the point of lightly browning. Add the tomato paste and blend in. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 empty paste cans of water. Let this come to a boil after you’ve gotten all the paste, garlic and water smooth. Now add the beans and the fresh herb Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the “LAGANE” to the pan and heat through for about 5 minutes. Shut off and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the grated cheese. Blend well. Serve with extra cheese if you like and more peperoncino…
Enjoy this dish from the interior of three of Italy’s Regions. I’m sure back in the late 1890’s one of these houses on my maternal Grandfather’s street in Grassano, Basilicata had a pot of this on their stove. BUON APPETITO!!
Grassano, early 1900’s..as painted by my late cousin Professore Luigi Paone who lived and died in Grassano. This painting was given to me by his wife, the late cousin Rosetta on August 15, 2006 in their living room in Grassano. CHE BELLI RICORDI!!!