If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that Italian food is all about simple things.
Today we go deep South to discover a dish that’s typical of Calabria, Basilicata, Campania and Apulia, aka 'lagana e ciciri'.
Lagana is tagliatelle-like shaped pasta, served with tomato sauce and chickpeas. To me it’s a comfort meal like no others, it’s easy to make and… it’s vegan!
Before the recipes, here are some fun facts and top-tips:
- Lagana is thought to be one of the oldest types of durum wheat pasta.
- It’s common to have this pasta on November 2nd, ‘The day of the dead’. Apparently, it’s a tradition inherited from Ancient Greece, where chickpeas and grains were cooked on this day as an offer to Dionisus and to the souls of dead people, so they could make plenty of it before returning to the afterworld.
- Chickpeas: I suggested canned chickpeas for a quick version. But cooking the chickpeas from scratch after soaking it will be ways more flavourful as these will cook longer with the other ingredients.
INGREDIENTS for the fresh pasta:
250g durum wheat semolina or pasta flour
A pinch of salt
INGREDIENTS for the sauce:
400g cooked or canned chickpeas
200ml tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves
3-4 bay leaves
Salt, black pepper and chilli to taste
Olive oil to taste
Start by making the fresh pasta: mix and knead the semolina and water together until smooth. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes and once ready, stretch the dough either with a rolling pin or pasta machine about 2mm thick. Cut the pasta into tagliatelle shape, about 2-3cm wide and 15cm long.
Whilst the pasta is resting, in a pot stir-fry the garlic cloves with the bay leaves and chilli. Add the cooked chickpeas, stir for a few mins, then pour the tomato sauce and about 1lt water. Combine and let it simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes or until you are done shaping the pasta.
Once the pasta is ready, cook it in the same pot with the chickpeas, for about 5 minutes.
Serve warm with vegan parmesan and more chilli flakes. Buon appetito!