An iconic dish of Roman cuisine is definitely the pasta and chickpeas, to be tasted absolutely when you find a real trattoria of traditional cuisine in Rome.
Chickpeas are one of the most nutritious and widespread legumes in the Roman diet but also in that of many eastern countries. In fact, it seems that its culture was born over 8000 years ago and that it arrived in Rome from Turkey or Egypt.
Chickpeas are eaten in many ways, dried or ground into flour, and the Latin poet Horace reports a recipe for chickpeas fried in olive oil.
A real curiosity is the etymology of the name of the famous Cicero, because the growths on the face were called 'cicer' (ancient Latin name for chickpeas) and all those who had a growth on the face were nicknamed 'Cicer'.
But returning to more recent times, in traditional Roman cuisine, pasta and chickpeas were often combined with cod, for the simple reason that both the chickpeas and the cod had to be soaked a few days before, and the same water was used.
Roman-style pasta and chickpeas recipe
The recipe for pasta and chickpeas begins with soaking the chickpeas and for their cooking they are first boiled in water scented with rosemary.
Then, to prepare the pasta and chickpeas, we put garlic, oil and chilli pepper in the bottom of a pan. We brown the garlic (which we then remove), add a fillet of anchovy in oil and let it melt slowly.
At this point we put the previously cooked chickpeas, season everything for a couple of minutes and add some vegetable broth or hot water.
Let it cook for about ten minutes and then whisk a part of the chickpeas to make it more creamy and tastier. Now we are ready to add the pasta and cook it with a sprig of rosemary.
The typical pasta is ‘cannolicchi’, but broken spaghetti or whatever you prefer are also good. When the pasta is cooked, serve by adding a drizzle of raw oil to the bowl.
In the glass a classic Castelli Romani wine such as a Frascati DOCG or a white Velletri DOC, also from the Roman countryside.