Broad beans and wild chicory

Altamura crestFave e cicorie. This is one of the most traditional and most loved dishes from Puglia. The recipe varies from town to town and even from family to family.  Many thanks to Grazia from Altamura for her recipe.  I don’t know if ‘wild’  chicory is available outside Italy, but if you can find it, this dish is well worth trying.

Serves 4.

  • 200 grams dried peeled broad beans — soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 stick celery
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 700g wild chicory, washed and separated into individual stems.
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil

  1. Add the beans, onion, bayleaf, tomatoes and celery to an earthenware pot and cover with two fingers of water.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook very slowly until the beans are very tender – at least 2 hours. The water should have been completely absorbed at the end of cooking.
  3. Remove the onion, celery, and bayleaf. Mash the beans with a wooden spoon while adding a trickle of olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Meanwhile boil the chicory in plenty of salted water until tender and drain.
  5. Add olive oil and garlic to a pan and cook until softened.
  6. Dress the chicory with the garlic oil.
  7. Serve on individual plates, arranging the beans on one side and the chicory on the other.
  8. Dress with a little more olive oil before serving.
    Variations:

  1. Grazia likes to grate the onion and celery and incorporate them in the puree.
  2. In some places potatoes are cooked along with the beans.
  3. Dress with a little chilli oil before serving (olio santo)

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Tagliatelle with broad bean puree

Lagane con pure di fave. From Puglia. This is another example of la cucina povera or peasant food. It uses very frugal ingredients but the results are delicious. These dishes have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance recently in Italy. Rightly so in my opinion. Serves 5

  • 500 grams tagliatelle (preferably fresh) (known locally as lagane)
  • 250 grams dried, skinned broad beans — soaked overnight
  • 50 grams onion — thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Put the beans into a saucepan and cover with twice the depth of water. Add salt (the original recipe called for a tablespoon!) and cook over a medium heat, without stirring, until the beans are very soft. Mash with a wooden spoon.
  2. Fry the onion in plenty of olive oil until they are starting to caramelize.
  3. Cook the tagliatelle al dente, drain and mix with the puree.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish, pour over the onions and their cooking oil and serve immediately.