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Apulian Cooking
Pasta with black chick peas from the Foggia Murge Apulian triddhi is the ideal pasta to combine with tasty black chick peas.
Differences between this dish and the better-known ciceri e tria
by Dario Ersetti
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Triddhi with black chick peas from the Foggia Murge. Photo by Dario Ersetti

Foggia’s black chick peas have a strange history. They used to be used mainly as stock feed but were also recommended for new mothers to increase their production of milk. A strange similarity between kinds of nurturing but a wise use of folk medicine since black chick peas are high in iron, which is usually lacking after childbirth. The fact that the amount of milk increased, if it did, was probably due to the body’s improved balance.

Black chick peas have a stronger taste than white ones, so to savor them better, it’s advisable to eat them straight, simply boiled in water and served with a little oil. The other way is in combination with small sized pasta (triddhi is ideal) cooked separately and again served with a little oil.

Triddhi is a typical handmade Apulian pasta of water and durum wheat flour, made by rubbing the dough between the hands to get little balls of pasta. The fact that they are shaped like a chick pea gives the dish a harmony of shapes and a pleasing dissonance of colors.

 

 

The recipe

 

   4 servings:

 

- 200 g of black chick peas

- 250 g of triddhi

- extra-virgin olive oil to taste

- salt to taste

- carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf (optional)

 

Soak the chick peas overnight in water. Drain, rinse and cook for an hour in unsalted water, or 25 minutes in a pressure cooker. Cook the pasta separately in salted water. Drain the chick peas and add salt, combine with the drained pasta, dress with oil, mix and serve.

That is the simpler recipe. You can add carrots, onion, celery and a bay-leaf to the chick pea cooking water, to give the chick peas a more “soupy” flavor.

A curiosity about this recipe is that even though the ingredients are practically the same as in the better-known ciceri e tria (chick peas with tagliatelle) from Lecce, the dish differs in one respect, which is related to social class. Ciceri e tria, in which some of the pasta is fried, certainly had Sicilian or even earlier Arab origins. The contrast of flavors and of the consistency of the pasta, combined with the right amount of liquid and the sweetness of the white chick peas creates an elegant dish (if it is well made). The black chick peas with their strong flavor, simply combined with the pasta and dressed with a little oil, reveal their origin amongst peasants and shepherds. The area of Foggia has in fact always been linked to Abruzzo due to the age-old practice of transhumance, or seasonal migration of sheep to better pasture, and this stands out clearly if the two recipes are compared. The use of chick peas and Abruzzi’s square-cut egg spaghetti (alla chitarra), which became troccoli in Foggia, are the most obvious examples.

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