This is a simple yet delicious dish we often find on the antipasti table at one of our favorite local restaurants here in Umbria. The beans are best cooked from dried beans rather than using canned beans, and although I used cicerchie in this recipe, the dish I first tasted at Locanada in Deruta used chickpeas, so they are a perfect substitution. There is an earthiness to this dish that is subtle yet addictive, and although I really did not think I cared for chickpeas before I tasted this dish, I have developed a whole new appreciation for them!
This recipe gives the amounts I used to create the flavor I best preferred. You might find, depending on how strong your truffle paste is, you may prefer a little less, or require a little more. The truffle taste should not be overpowering, but be a subtle flavor that enhances the entire dish. Since this dish is so simple, by using a good quality olive oil and truffle paste you will ensure the best result. You do need to start this recipe the day before as the beans need to be soaked overnight. Just remember not to add any salt while cooking which will toughen the skin on the beans.
Dried, Uncooked Cicerchie Beans
Deborah Mele 2011
Rinse the beans then place in a large bowl with fresh water to cover.
Add a pinch of baking soda and soak for at least 12 hours or overnight, then drain.
Place the beans in a large pot with the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cover with water by 4 or so inches.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until tender about 1 hour.
Drain and remove the vegetables leaving just the cooked beans.
In a large bowl mix the beans with half the oil, a tablespoon of truffle paste, and season with salt and pepper.
Add additional oil and paste as needed to create the taste you prefer.
Add the chopped parsley, toss and serve.
These beans keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
After refrigeration, first bring to room temperature, then toss well in the dressing before serving.