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Lagane e Ceci (Pasta & Chickpea Soup)

  Lagane e Ceci is a well-known southern Italian dish whose roots stem from ancient times when legumes were the staple ingredients, easily accessible with a very long shelf life.  Chickpeas, beans or lentils were alternated and cooked with hand made pasta, feeding the whole family.  This soup is made with dried chickpeas and hand-made ribbons of eggless pasta, but can also be made with  canned chickpeas which are just as good,  and  a short store-bought pasta like ditaletti. Mamma would make it this way when she was time poor.   We however preferred this soup with home-made pasta, rendering it more creamy. Lagane are believed to be the ancestors of today’s lasagne and the oldest form of pasta. The word lagane , like lasagna , comes from ancient Greece where it was used to describe a pasta made of flour and water, cooked on a stone, and then cut into strips. The Roman statesman  Cicero wrote about his passion for the Laganum  or laganas  and the Roman poet Horace, whose writings a

Ciambelline al Vin Cotto e Anice

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons with its bountiful fruits that are not only delicious fresh, but also lend themselves really well for preserving and keeping us well stocked for the winter months ahead; like quinces for cotognata, grapes for drying and of course for making wine and vin cotto.

March is the month that papa` makes his wine and without fail makes a few jars of vin cotto to enjoy in some of his prized dishes. I confess that it is my favourite too, so when given a jar I am very selective in how it is used knowing that another year must pass before receiving another jar of this liquid gold.

I have therefore decided to recipe test a variation of the traditional ciambelline al vino and use papa`'s vin cotto instead.  Of course mamma and papa` will in return receive a plate of these ring biscuits.

Ciambelline al Vin Cotto e Anice

According to Roman tradition, dunking the ciambelline in a glass of vino is how they should be eaten. There is a proverb that says: "Si finisce sempre a tarallucci e vino" (a meal ends with ring biscuits and wine). These ciambelline however are just as lovely on their own. There is enough vin cotto and anice to categorize them as a sweet biscuit and hold their own merit.

This recipe makes about 50 ciambelline.  I have used a 100 ml glass tumbler to measure my ingredients with the exception of the flour.  You can also cut the quantities in half if you wish to only make a small batch.


1 glass of vin cotto
1 glass of anice (or sambuca)
1 glass of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 glass of sugar (there is enough sweetness in the vin cotto and anice)
Pinch of salt
Plain flour (enough added until the desired dough is achieved to be worked with your hands)
Raw sugar for finishing the top of the ciambelline

Preheat oven at 160 c fan forced and line 4 trays with baking paper.

In a bowl add the vin cotto, anice, oil, sugar, pinch of salt and stir.  Add the flour a bit at a time and continue mixing with your hands until the dough is hard enough to separate from the edge of the bowl.

On a board, roll small walnut size pieces into finger thick logs and curl into a round shape pinching the ends to form the ciambelline, then invert and dip one at a time into the raw sugar.  Arrange on the tray and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.



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