A Return to ‘La Cucina Povera’

Here I am some years ago in Cervantes bar, Napoli, about to tuck into a huge bowl of Pasta e Ceci. Every Friday, the dish is the star of the menu. Locals flock to this unassuming backstreet eatery for a bowl of simple, warming and delicious pasta with chickpeas. Whenever me and my family are in town we make sure to join them.

It seems there has been a return to both frugality and simplicity in the restaurant world, with dishes associated with hard times appearing on top eatery menus. ‘La Cucina Povera’ (the Pauper’s Kitchen) has become trendy! In the South of Italy where hardship has more or less always prevailed, dishes using stale bread or legumes such as Panzanella and Pasta e Fagioli have always been a necessity yet remained both loved and revered.

Click here for my Pasta e Ceci recipe. Using leftover handfuls of different types of pasta and chickpeas which are always readily available and highly economical, this dish is filling, tasty and inexpensive to make. It’s cousin of sorts to Pasta e Fagioli, another frugal dish of pasta with beans much-loved in Italy. You can make it to a thick soup consistency, or as a sauce slathered pasta dish – it depends how much water you use. As long as there is plenty of olive oil and garlic it will be tasty either way.

Long live la Cucina Povera!

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This entry was posted in Food, Italy, Mediterranean Culture, Travel and tagged , , , , , by NazarBlue. Bookmark the permalink.

About NazarBlue

Growing up with Southern Italian roots, Turkish best friends and Arabic and Greek speaking neighbours, life was lived around abundant tables in warm kitchens. A love for food and feeding was inevitable. It showed me how all people are the same regardless of language and borders – Una Faccia Una Razza! When I became engaged to a Saracen from Istanbul, his relatives not only welcomed me into their family but welcomed me into their kitchen. For me, food is love. Food personifies the people who you hold dearest and speaks of origins and affections. To cook is to create edible offerings of love. NazarBlue embraces food, culture & photography. But by no means the regular stuff you'll find littering the Mediterranean tourist trail. No, no! I cook food with stories behind each dish. I photograph simple things, but try to emphasis natural beauty in a moment or in a scene. And when I travel I live with the locals for an authentic experience. I adore the pockets of culture from the Mediterranean and beyond in this great city, London, and write about the authentic eateries and events I stumble upon, often by chance. I have also uploaded some flash fiction, for no particular reason other than I love a good story.

2 thoughts on “A Return to ‘La Cucina Povera’

  1. Thanks Khaula! I do believe there is something very healing about simple and frugal food – its like returning to our roots and rediscovering something about ourselves, and our ancestors in a way..

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