I know you've heard me say it before, but eating the local food really is one of my favorite things to do while on vacation! Especially when that local food is one of my all-time favorite dishes, prepared especially for me by one of my favorite relatives!
When you travel to Southern Italy you get to experience a very modest, simple, hearty cuisine, a cuisine known as la cucina povera. This "kitchen of the poor" is what the farmers, laborers and peasants used to eat because it made use of everyday ingredients that were readily available and not expensive. In Basilicata, this consisted of a lot of legumes, vegetables and grain-based dishes such as pasta and bread.
This type of cooking still persists today and forms the basis of many regions's traditional dishes. For me, lagane e ceci is the epitome of comfort, happy food and it is a typical dish of Southern Italy. Lagane are a wide ribbon pasta, similar to pappardelle. They are combined with a thick chick pea mixture to make a bowl of heaven on Earth! And no one makes this dish better than my cousin Maria Teresa! Once again, when she knew we would be visiting home this summer, she invited us all for lunch at her family's house. The lagane e ceci were but a small part of the insane meal they served us, but as amazing as everything else was, the lagane e ceci were my favorite part! If I'm being 100% honest, Maria Teresa's cooking might really be the only reason I go back home at all!
So next time you're in Italy make it a point of trying some local specialties. Even if you don't have a favorite relative there who will cook them for you, I can guarantee you'll eat some amazing food nonetheless! Until then...