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Apulian Soups, Pasta and More

Puglia, like much of the south, was historically poor, and cooks unfortunate enough to have access to meats or fresh fish naturally turned to pasta and vegetables, developing a great many tasty frugal recipes that are now beloved by all.

Baked Timballo -- U Tembène o' Furne
Baked Timballo, U Tembène o' Furne: This is an extremely rich feast day dish that was (and is) the beginning of the Christmas meal in Altamura, a town in the northwestern corner of Puglia. The recipe is drawn from Altamura Antichi Sapori, a fascinating book about the town, and also calls for ragù, in the sense of a meat sauce (as opposed to the slowly cooked piece of meat of the Neapolitan tradition).

Chickpea Ravioli -- Cavezune
Chickpea Ravioli, or Cavezune: And finally, A few people have written asking for recipes for chick pea ravioli. Here's a recipe from the Gargano Peninsula, in Puglia.

Fave e Cicorie Selvatiche, Fava Bean Puree with Wild Chicory
Pugliesi are fanatical lovers of greens, and if you visit Puglia during the winter months you can be almost certain of being offered Puré di Fave, pureed fava beans, usually with some sort of green and a drizzle of olive oil. Peasant food of the finest kind.

Fennel Soup -- Fenecchìjdde
Fennel Soup, or Fenecchìjdde: This is a very simple winter soup from Puglia; it's a traditional Christmas Eve soup but is quite nice throughout the winter.

Noodles, Chickpeas and Baccalà: Lasgane, Ceci e Baccalà
A Puglian soup in which chickpeas gain flavor from soaking with baccalà.

Orecchiette with an Olive and Tomato Sauce
Orecchiette with an Olive and Tomato Sauce: Orecchiette are one of the classic pasta shapes from Puglia, and though they were rare elsewhere when I moved to Italy in 1982, they have by now become commonplace. The name, orecchiette, means little ears because they resemble the human ear in shape. They are especially renowned as being an accompaniment for broccoli rabe, but do nicely with other things too, for example black olives.

Orecchiette with Broccoli and Sautéed Lard Recipe
Orecchiette with Broccoli and Sautéed Lard: Don't be put off by the word lard; in the past when most people living in Italy were too poor to have more than occasional access to meats a little bit of lard was a tasty treat that also provided some much-needed fat. In this case it also provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of the broccoli. The recipe is from Bari. I would use lightly seasoned lard, though one could also use fat back if need be.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe -- Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa
There are many recipes for this signature dish from Puglia. This particular one is quick and simple.

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Orecchiette coi Broccoletti
Broccoli and salted ricotta go very well together in this Puglian pasta sauce.

Orecchiette with Meat Sauce, Orecchiette al Ragú
Though the recipe calls for orecchiette, the sauce will also work well with calzoncelli.

Orecchiette with Porcini Mushrooms
An interesting baked pasta dish from Puglia.

Orecchiette with Ragù -- I Rechhietédde Ch'u Suche Russe
Orecchiette with Ragù, or I Rechhietédde Ch'u Suche Russe: This is a recipe from Altamura, a town in Northwestern Puglia, and it will work well as a sauce for regular pasta, or can be used in preparing a festive timballo.

Orecchiette with Ragù -- Orecchiette col Ragù
Orecchiette with Ragù: According to Luigi Sada, this is the only long-cooked sauce made in Puglia, and has nothing to do with Ragù alla Napoletana.

Orecchiette with Veal Sauce, Orecchiette al Vitello
A southern specialty, from Puglia.

Puré di Fave, Fava Bean Puree
Dried Fava beans are a winter staple in Puglia. In the past, plain fava bean puree would have been the simplest of peasant foods. Now, it will be a pleasant frugal first course, and could also work as a side dish with a stew.

Rice and Eggplant Soup - Minestra di Melanzane e Riso
A tasty, unusual Puglian soup made with eggplant and rice. Quite refreshing!

Roasted Lamb Tiella Recipe, Tiella di Agnello Al Forno
The word tiella means roasting pan in southern Italy, and by extension dishes cooked in roasting pan. Most of the tiella recipes I have seen are essentially vegetable casseroles, but they can contain fish, or, in this case lamb: a tasty lamb casserole!

Tiella Tarantina
A vegetable casserol loaded with mussels.

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