CICERCHIA SOUP

Serves 4
cicerchia g. 200 - beans and chick peas g. 200 - vegetable broth g. 500
2 garlic cloves - celery, carrots, onions g. 150 - salt and pepper
chives, extra virgin olive oil, toasted bread cubes

Preparation
Soak the legumes individually overnight. Cut the vegetables in small cubes. Boil the beans and chick peas for at least one hour. Boil the cicerchia for 45 minutes and leave it in the cooking water. Put the beans and chick peas in a food processor until you get a smooth paste. Put the olive oil in a pan, add the raw vegetables, and sauté them for a few minutes. Select 4 bowls and rub them with garlic. Fill the bowels with the very hot soup, add the bread cubes, chives, pepper and a thread of extra virgin olive oil.

CICERCHIA AND SPELT SOUP

Serves 4
cicerchia g. 150 - other legumes g. 150 - spelt g. 200
celery, carrots, onion g. 150 - bacon g. 100
salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil, toasted bread cubes

Preparation
Soak the cicerchia and the other legumes (beans, chick peas, peeled fava beans) overnight, all separately. Soak the spelt for two hours. Cook the legumes and pass them through a colander. Cook the spelt separately. Sauté the celery, carrots and onions and the bacon, combine them with the cream of the legumes and the spelt and continue to cook for 10 minutes with a few ladles of vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper (or chili). Serve the soup hot with toasted bread and a thread of extra virgin olive oil.

SPAGHETTI WITH SPELT, CICERCHIA AND BACON

Serves 4
spaghetti from spelt g. 300 - cicerchia g. 120 - becon g. 100 - onion g. 30
g. 30 grated Pecorino cheese, salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil

Preparation
Cook cicerchia that has been soaked overnight for 40 minutes and leave it in the cooking water. Cook the spaghetti in salted water and drain them. Meanwhile fry the onion and bacon with the olive oil, and add the cicerchia. Mix it with the pasta, add cheese, and dribble olive oil over it.

PURREED CICERCHIA WITH FIELD GREENS

Serves 4
cicerchia g. 250 - succory and field greens, e.g. chard g. 400
2 garlic cloves - a twig of rosemary for serving
salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil

Preparation
Soak the chicerchia overnight, changing the water at least twice. Cook it for 40 minutes. Then put it in a food processor, adding vegetable broth until the puree has a medium density. Clean the succory and the field greens, steam them for 5 minutes and put them in a pan with garlic, rosemary and a streak of olive oil and sauté them briefly. Serve the puree on warmed-up plates, arranging the field greens around the puree. Season with pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

SOLFINO BEANS

Serves 4
Soak 240 g (about 7 ounces) of solfino beans overnight. Cook the beans for about 70 – 80 minutes, adding salt at the end. Put the beans into 4 bowls and add pepper and some mild extra virgin olive oil. That will emphasize the lightness and softness of the beans. If desired one can serve them with poached fish or mussels, a great match.

POLENTA

Serves 4
Boil 2,5 l of water, add salt and then the polenta flour (500g) slowly, stirring it with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. If you like, add a glass of milk and a small piece of butter. Continue to cook for at least 45 minutes until the polenta becomes soft and creamy. Keep a pot with boiling water nearby, so that you can always add a little bit of water. When the polenta is done, small crusts start forming on the side of the pot. With less cooking time, the polenta does not taste as good and is more difficult to digest.

GRANOTURCO QUARANTINO COOKIES

Preparation
Granoturco flour g. 250 - wheat flour g. 250
butter g. 300 - sugar g. 280 - 4 egg yokes - a pinch of salt
vanilla - grated lemon peel

Preparazione
Mix the flour and sugar, add the soft butter and the egg yolks, and the ground lemon peel and the salt. Mix quickly and let it sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Then roll out the dough to about 4-5 mm thickness and cut it out into whatever shape you like (squares, circles). Bake in the oven on a baking sheet covered with baking paper at 1800- 2000 for 10 minutes.

THE SWEET FIG LOG

Once upon a time the sweet fig log (Lonzino di Fico) was a popular snack for children during fall and winter; nowadays it has been re-discovered and is served in restaurants as part of gourmet desserts.

We suggest that you serve it at the end of a meal, cut in slices, with a spoonful of Sapa, some well-aged cheese, and Passito dessert wine.

SAPA

The ancient romans called a concentrate made out of grape must called “sapa”. As described by Plinius and Columella, and by Apicio in his recipe collection, it was very sweet but not unpleasantly so. “Sapa” referred to “sapore” which means flavor, and it was made by slowly boiling the must for hours and hours. This was prepared by the farm families in the Marches until a few decades ago, using a big copper kettle over a very slow fire; the yield of 100 l of must was about 25 liters of the precious concentrate. It was stored in appropriate pitchers. During the winter children could enjoy a rustic type of granita (crushed ice drink) by mixing it with snow. During the summer heat, it was mixed with water from a well by the farmers who worked on the fields who could thus enjoy a refreshing drink. It is very good on ice cream or panna cotta. It can give a special flavor to fruit salad. It can be used in the preparation of cookies or cakes or pies, and can also go with spicy cheeses or cheeses flavored with herbs. It rounds off fruit compote, particularly from figs or quinces. It is rich in mineral salts and is an ideal natural supplement for tonics or invigorating drinks. Sapa with hot milk was used as a remedy for a sore throat. It keeps for many years.

AGRESTO

This is a sweet vinegar based on boiled must, dense, with a clear acid note. It is sweet and tart at the same time. It has been around since ancient times and was well known by the Romans and in the Middle Ages wherever wine was grown. It was used to season meat or vegetables or as the main ingredient in elaborate sauces. The term “Agresto” refers to the tart and acid taste. Our ancestors produced this essence from small and sour grapes that were not yet ripe at the time of the vintage. They let them mature in appropriate barrels in their farm houses. Diluted with cold water, agresto was a thirst quencher. Its use diminished with the introduction of tomatoes at the end of the 19th century. It is a modest natural product that has been recently been revived because of its versatility in the kitchen. We suggest that you use it on salads, boiled potatoes, grilled vegetables, and sweet and sour onions. It is an easy way to flavor meats like veal, venison, liver, chicken giblets, turkey cutlets, or duck breasts. For example, add it to a terrine of rabbit with Prosciutto or bacon, or a medallion of pink pork filet with an onion sauce. Try a cream of Agresto and honey on grilled meat. Or a few drops of Agresto on a carpaccio of mushrooms and parmesan, or on strawberries.