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Lagana Chiapputa (Pasta with Vin Cotto)

La Lagana Chiapputa is one of papa's favourite sweets. It is prepared on the day of Santa Lucia, but in more recent times mamma would make it whenever papa` craved for it – frequently!  It has become his signature sweet dish claimed as his own, and is made with much passion.  This is a simple ancient desert typical of the province of Potenza, Acerenza my father’s birth town. 

Lagane is a type of fresh pasta similar to tagliatelle.  Thicker and shorter lagane are made with water and durum wheat flour and salt.  Many southern Italian regions claim paternity of this pasta and it is also known as sagne. The name is connected to ancient Latin and Greek lasagne known as laganum and laganon. In Basilicata lagane are cooked along with legumes, in particular with chickpeas.  It is said that lagane and chickpeas was the typical dish eaten by brigands raiding the Vulture woodlands in the mid XIX century.  

Photo Credit: Acerenza by Vincenzo Mazzaro

Papa' recounts stories of time spent in the kitchen with his mother - nonna Angela, making this sweet not only for the family but also for the workers who had come to harvest the wheat fields. It was a very popular lunch time meal often requested by the workers as it was substantial and delicious.  It is a dish made typically from the autumn fruits of the land - durum wheat, raisins, walnuts and vin cotto. Fresh or stale bread crumbs were also used in this dish and a way of using any left over bread as no bread went to waste.

The vin cotto is made every wine season - the beginning of autumn and stored for the year. My father just completed the first stage of this years wine making and with the must, has reduced it to produce the sweetest vin cotto.

Lagana Chiapputa (Pasta with Vin Cotto)

This strange sweet resembles lasagne in how the pasta is made and assembled.  It uses durum wheat and no eggs are used.  f you don't have access to durum wheat flour, you can make it with regular flour, however the pasta will not hold its shape as well when cooked. It is layered with dried fruit such as raisins or sultanas, nuts and vin cotto. Please note that the pasta must be made fresh and not substituted with bought pasta.

This is my fathers’ recipe - a de-constructed version of the original.  It can be eaten warm or cold, but best consumed the day it is made, as the pasta can dry out - although still quite flavoursome. 


500 g of durum wheat or plain flour
100 g fresh bread crumbs
100 g chopped walnuts
100 g crushed almonds (optional)
10 g raisins or sultanas
Vin cotto (the exact quantity is unknown - the more the better. There are many brands that you can purchase.  We of course use the homemade drop!)
1tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Prepare the dough as you would make pasta but without the eggs.  This consists of combining the flour with warm water and salt and kneading the dough.  Use the pasta machine to create the sheets of pasta.  Cut strips 3 inches wide using a rotary cutter, cook in salted water, drain and set aside.

In a fry pan, brown the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the walnuts, almonds, sultanas and combine.

In a dish, dress in layers alternating with the filling (breadcrumbs, nuts, sultanas) and drizzle the vin cotto Continue the layering and finish off by sprinkling the mixture and more of the vin cotto.  Allow the dish to rest and absorb all the flavours and is also lovely refrigerated for half an hour. 



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