Chickpeas (ceci) are a precious food of the Mediterranean diet. La Valletta's ceci are incredibly rich, savory, and satisfying. Their petite size and firm texture adds a delightful bite to every dish when cooked properly, setting them apart from most common garbanzo beans. Grown in Colfiorito, a magnificent plateau nestled in the heart of the Umbria-Marche Apennines, the legumes thrive at an elevation between 800 to 1000 meters above sea level in a terroir naturally rich in organic matter. The beans are vine-dried and harvested between June and July.
The dried beans must be soaked for 12 hours or overnight, then simmered in water with aromatics until evenly cooked with a firm, yet creamy texture (about two hours). Follow our founder Rolando's instructions for how to prepare slow-cooked beans. Cook a large pot of ceci and keep on hand for use in soups, salads, stews, and as a side dish.
For a traditional Umbrian dish, La Valletta recommends making a brothy soup of cooked chickpeas flavored with pancetta, sage, and tomato paste. Soak bread slices briefly in the rich bean broth, then top each piece with some beans, a sprinkle of pecorino cheese, and a drizzle of robust extra virgin olive oil. Try making Chickpeas, Beet Greens, and Pork (page 246) and Chickpea, Tomato, and Broken Pasta Soup (page 144) from AUTENTICO.