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Troccoli with walnut sauce Typical of Gargano, this recipe from “poor” cuisine is a real delicacy. Easy to make, healthy and sure to be a success by Dario Ersetti
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Troccoli with walnut sauce. Photo by Dario Ersetti

Troccoli pasta is widely used around Foggia and looks a bit like the spaghetti alla chitarra from Abruzzo. It is one of the many dishes that over the centuries was spread through the transhumance (or droving of stock) between Abruzzo and Puglia. From a sheet of semola and egg (1 egg, 150 g of semola, water and salt) rolled out not very thinly, you use the special utensil (a wooden or ridged metal rolling pin called u ntrùccele or troccolaturu) to make rectangular-shaped string noodles, shorter than spaghetti.

In shape they also resemble scialatielli, widespread in Campania but typical of the Amalfi coast where they are traditionally hand-made with flour and water and/or milk, grated cheese, fresh basil and salt.

The recipe below comes from Monte Sant’Angelo, on Gargano in the Foggia area, a town well-known for its walnuts.

This reminds me of a tradition that luckily has now been abandoned. Since walnuts were believed to bring good luck, they used to be thrown at the bride and groom as they came out of the church. The effect of this pelting is unknown, but if the couple survived they would certainly be able to put up with all the negatives that life had in store for them.

 

The recipe

 

   4 servings:

 

- 400 g of troccoli

- 350 g of walnuts (dry, shelled)

- 2 dessertspoons of extra-virgin olive oil

- salt

- pepper

 

Crush the walnuts with a mortar and pestle to get a smooth paste which will then be beaten with oil and a little of the pasta cooking water and seasoned with salt and pepper. This paste is used to dress the pasta, which in the meanwhile has been cooked in plenty of boiling salted water. The cheese is optional but not indispensable. If used, the best kind is a cheese with a flavor that is not too overwhelming, such as cacioricotta. Serve garnished with a few roughly broken up shelled walnuts.

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