Stealing beauty by Bernardo Bertolucci is one of these movies that leaves you with a very strong desire to travel. The warmth of Tuscan landscape captured in the film triggers all your senses and makes you want to teleport yourself to Italy immediately. Even though I saw this movie over 10 years ago, I can still recall the sensation of colours and places that stayed with me long after the end credits faded away.
This July I spent couple of days near Florence, in a rural cottage with an endless view of grapevines and olive trees fields. I would never guess that finding a location so similar to the one from the movie would be that easy, but that’s just Tuscany — the vivid mixture of sunny and green hills. Coming back home wasn’t easy. Luckily, I came back with a recipe that helps me overcome the end-of-summer-nostalgia.
It’s very basic. All you need are literally 2 ingredients: chickpea flour and water. The original seasoning of Italian chickpea pancake – torta di ceci, also known as cecina, socca or farinata — is pure minimalist and consists of salt, pepper and olive oil. It’s usually served plain as a dish or in a sandwich with roasted eggplant. Ever since I came back, I have been trying many different variations of torta di ceci — in sandwiches, as a pizza base or just as a snack — and believe me, they are all great. Just remember to always have chickpea flour at home and improvise with the rest.
When preparing torta di ceci, make sure to put this playlist on and enjoy.
In a bowl mix chickpea flour with water. Add the rosemary sprig and set aside for at least 4 hours (I like to do it in the evening and let the water be absorbed overnight).
Heat up the oven to 180 degrees. Add all the spices listed in the seasoning and take the rosemary sprig out. Whisk well together. Don’t worry if the mixture looks to runny, it will thicken in the oven.
If you like more oily and fried type of bread or pancakes, grease the pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil. If you want to have more dry texture, you can use a baking paper instead or just 1 tbsp. Bake in the oven until it builds golden and crispy crust on top (about 30-40 min). If needed lower to 160 degrees.
Cut the pancake in slices, serve with your favourite bread and toppings — roasted eggplant, olive oil and fresh tomatoes are a must! And don't get mad, if you get addicted of it...