Appetizers and Snacks, Gluten-free, Special Diets, Vegan

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour ‘Flatbread’

Nicoletta January 18, 2018

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Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour ‘Flatbread’ is a simple, nutritious recipe, that is also vegan and gluten-free. It is a classic street food from the Tuscany Region, made of only a few ingredients: chickpea flour, water, e.v.o. oil, salt, and pepper. The word Cecina, pronounced ‘chay-chee-na’, comes from the Italian word Ceci, which means Chickpeas.

Song of the Day: “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree.

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

At 7 a.m. of my “normal” Canadian morning as a stay-at-home blogger, I would be having breakfast with my husband, discussing food, recipes, blog goals, us. I’d be relaxed, a mug of coffee in my hand, planning a day of working from home, interrupted maybe by a yoga class.

 

 

At 7 a.m. of my “Roman” morning, I’d be commuting to work, trying to squeeze in the huge amount of people on the train and the subway, submerged in my thoughts of food, and recipes to come. I’d be already hyperactive, walking at a fast pace, planning my day between work and blog, wondering nervously when I will have the time to cook/bake and shoot pictures if, when I arrive home, the sun will be set and with it the energy to do anything.

And here comes the weekend, when, instead of relaxing and unwinding before a new week begins, I am frantically cooking, baking, taking pictures as much as I can. Instead, if you’re familiar with our IG stories, when I am in Canada with my husband, Saturdays have a wonderful routine: relaxed breakfast outing trying new cafés or going back to our favorite ones, followed by our usual Farmers Market venture. Sometimes we develop recipes on the weekend, but it’s different when we’re together and we can share joys and pains.

In this sunny Saturday late morning, I am in my parents’ kitchen and I am making a simple, nutritious recipe, that is an Italian classic, an evergreen, just what I like: Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour ‘Flatbread’. The word Cecina comes from the Italian word Ceci, which means Chickpeas. This chickpea flour ‘flatbread’, crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, is known from the French Riviera, to Liguria, to Tuscany, changing names as it changes city: “Socca“, “Farinata“, “Fainà“, “Cecina“, “Calda Calda“, “5 e 5“, “Torta“.

As always, when we’re talking of simple recipes of the cucina povera “poor man’s kitchen”, a particular attention must be given to using the best ingredients possible and to the preparation. I bought an organic chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour, and I am using a cold pressed d.o.p. extra virgin olive oil. The other 3 ingredients are water, salt, and pepper (with a fourth, optional, rosemary).

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

Like the majority of Italian recipes, every family has its own version and pretend it’s the original and -of course- the best. I’ve done quite an extensive research on the web for Cecina and found out that, if the ingredients are common to all, the quantities and the preparation differ a lot. From the ratio of water and chickpea flour to the amount of e.v.o. oil, to the oven temperature and baking time, there is hardly a common point.

What I’ve learned from all, though, particular attention must be given to:

  • blending thoroughly chickpea flour and water into a smooth, liquid batter (no lumps allowed);
  • resting the batter for a pretty long period of time: from at least half an hour to overnight (I settled on 2 hours);
  • setting the oven temperature to the highest possible (a wood fire oven being the best option);
  • the thinness of the Cecina and its crispy exterior and soft interior;
  • the fact that it has to be eaten “calda calda“, warm warm, to appreciate fully its incredibly delicious flavor (re-heating is barely tolerated).

As per this last point, every place that sells the Cecina is so strict to the point that if they have leftovers, they sell it at a discounted price because the buyers could not enjoy a “just out of the oven” Cecina.

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour FlatbreadCecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

It is great eaten by the slice as an appetizer/snack, or stuffed into a Focaccia bread, or as a light lunch in accompaniment to cooked greens or a platter of Tuscan meats and cheeses. It is one of the most popular Tuscan street foods, and it is sold in Pizzerie and bakeries across the Region. It is light and nutritious, rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and it is also vegan and gluten-free.

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

Once you bite in, the nuttiness of the chickpea flour is evident, but not too much that it takes away from the earthiness of the olive oil and the aromatic nature of the rosemary. The flavours marry so well and the dichotomy of textures create a wonderful balance.

My parents and brother (and myself) enjoyed it immensely as part of our lunch, today; I received high praises and the Cecina was finished among mmmmms of delight. I did not have to worry about reheating leftovers. Great! 🙂

Song of the Day: “You Gotta Be” by  Des’ree.

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Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour ‘Flatbread’

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

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  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Appetizers and Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour ‘Flatbread’ is a simple, nutritious recipe, that is also vegan and gluten-free. It is an Italian classic from the Tuscany Region, made of only a few ingredients: chickpea flour, water, e.v.o. oil, salt, and pepper. The word Cecina comes from the Italian word Ceci, which means Chickpeas.


Ingredients

  • 160 g organic chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
  • 500 ml water, at room temperature
  • 5 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (for topping)
  • rosemary (for topping, optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the flour to a medium-size bowl. Slowly add the water while whisking to avoid any lumps. When the batter is smooth add the salt and half the olive oil. Stir and cover with plastic wrap.
  2. Let the batter rest for a minimum of half hour to overnight (I let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours). Remove the foam from the top and give it another stir.
  3. Preheat the oven to 225-230° C (425-450° F). The hottest the better. Add the rest of the e.v.o. oil to a non-stick 30 cm pizza tray and spread it with a brush. Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven for about 1 minute (it will be easier to remove the Cecina after it’s baked).
  4. Leaving the tray in the oven, carefully pour the batter into the tray and mix just slightly with the spoon so as to distribute the oil and the batter.
  5. Close the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (in my oven it took 20 minutes), rotating the pan halfway through, until golden and crispy on the outside (you will see the cecina bubbling as it cooks). If necessary, turn the broil on low for a couple minutes to get the crispy topping.
  6. Remove from the oven, sprinkle over freshly ground black pepper (a must), coarse sea salt (if you like), and few rosemary sprigs (optional). Cut into slices and serve hot.

Notes

Cecina is best eaten warm, as it comes out of the oven.

You could use a cast iron skillet (it holds heat well!), but if it is smaller than 30 cm, make sure to bake it in 2 batches, since it is a must to make it thin (not as thin as a crèpes, not as thick as a pancake).

Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

Post e Ricetta in Italiano

Alle 7 di mattina di una mia “normale” mattina Canadese di blogger/casalinga, starei facendo colazione con mio marito, a parlare di cibo, di ricette, dei progetti del blog, di noi. Sarei rilassata, con una tazza di caffellatte in mano, intenta ad organizzare una giornata di lavoro al computer, interrotta -forse- solo da una lezione di yoga.

Alle 7 di una mia mattina Romana, invece, sto facendo il solito trasferimento casa-lavoro, cercando di infilarmi sul treno e nella metro tra una marea di persone, immersa nei miei pensieri su cibo e ricette a venire. Sono già iperattiva, il passo veloce, e la mente intenta a pianificare la giornata tra lavoro e blog, nervosa al pensiero di quando avrò tempo di cucinare, infornare, fare le foto, se quando arriverò a casa il sole sarà calato, e con esso l’energia di fare qualsiasi cosa.

Ed ecco allora arrivare il fine settimana, quando, invece di rilassarmi e scaricarmi prima dell’inizio di una nuova settimana, mi trovo disperatamente a testare ricette. Per quelli che vedono le nostre storie su IG, invece, quando sono in Canada con mio marito, il Sabato mattina ha un rituale magnifico: colazione fuori a provare nuove caffetterie o a tornare nelle preferite, seguita dalla solita spesa al Mercato Contadino. A volte ci troviamo a testare ricette per il blog, ma la storia è differente quando siamo insieme e possiamo dividere gioie e dolori.

In questo assolato tardo Sabato mattina, nella cucina dei miei genitori, ho deciso di fare una ricetta semplice e genuina, classica, di una volta, come piace a me: la Cecina, o Farinata di Ceci. La Cecina, in Francia è chiamata Socca, in Ligura Farinata, in Toscana, a seconda delle città, Calda Calda, 5 e 5, Torta.

Quando parliamo di semplici ricette della cucina povera, un’attenzione particolare deve essere rivolta all’utilizzo dei migliori ingredienti possibili e alla preparazione. Io ho comprato una farina biologica di ceci e sto usando un olio extravergine d’oliva, d.o.p.. Gli altri 3 ingredienti sono acqua, sale e pepe (con un quarto, facoltativo, il rosmarino).

Come succede con la maggior parte delle ricette italiane, ogni famiglia ha una sua versione e pretende che sia l’originale e, naturalmente, la migliore. Ho fatto una ricerca approfondita sul web e ho scoperto che, se gli ingredienti della Cecina, o Farinata, sono comuni a tutti, le quantità e la preparazione differiscono molto. Dal rapporto tra acqua e farina di ceci, alla quantità di olio e.v.o., alla temperatura del forno e al tempo di cottura, non c’è quasi un punto in comune.

Ciò che ho imparato da tutte le ricette, però, è che deve essere prestata particolare attenzione a:

  • mescolare accuratamente la farina di ceci e l’acqua fino ad ottenere una pastella liscia e liquida (senza grumi);
  • far riposare la pastella per un periodo piuttosto lungo (da almeno mezz’ora a tutta la notte);
  • impostare la temperatura del forno al massimo possibile (il forno a legna sarebbe l’opzione migliore);
  • la Cecina deve essere sottile, croccante fuori e morbida dentro;
  • il fatto che debba essere consumata “calda calda” per apprezzare pienamente il suo sapore incredibilmente delizioso (riscaldarla è a malapena tollerato).

A proposito di consumarla calda, ogni negozio che vende la Cecina è così rigoroso al punto che se hanno degli avanzi li vendono a un prezzo scontato perché i compratori non possono godersi la Cecina “appena sfornata”. Può essere congelata, però, e prima di essere servita, va messa in un forno caldo fino a quando diventi croccante e dorata.

E’ ottima da mangiare come antipasto/spuntino, o farcita dentro una focaccia o come pranzo leggero in accompagnamento a verdure cotte o un piatto di salumi e formaggi toscani. È uno degli alimenti da strada toscani più popolari e viene venduto in pizzerie e panetterie in tutta la regione. È leggero e nutriente, ricco di proteine, minerali, vitamine ed è anche vegano e senza glutine.

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Cecina, Tuscan Chickpea Flour Flatbread

Cecina, o Torta di Ceci, o Farinata di Ceci

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

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  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Appetizers and Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 160 g farina di ceci, biologica
  • 500 ml acqua, a temperatura ambiente
  • 5 cucchiai oilo e.v.o.
  • 1 cucchiaino di sale
  • pepe macinato fresco
  • rosmarino (facoltativo)

Instructions

  1. Aggiungere la farina in una ciotola di dimensioni medie. Aggiungere lentamente l’acqua e sbattere con una frusta per evitare grumi. Quando la pastella è liscia e senza grumi aggiungere il sale e metà dell’olio d’oliva. Mescolare e coprire con pellicola trasparente.
  2. Lasciare riposare l’impasto per almeno mezz’ora fino a tutta la notte (io l’ho lasciata riposare per circa 2 ore). Rimuovere la schiumetta che si forma in superfice, mescolare di nuovo.
  3. Preriscaldare il forno a 225-230° C (425-450° F). Più caldo è, meglio è.
  4. Aggiungere il resto dell’olio e.v.o. su una teglia rotonda antiaderente per pizza con diametro di 30 cm e con un pennello spargere l’olio su tutta la teglia. Mettere la teglia sulla griglia centrale del forno per circa 1 minuto (sarà più facile rimuovere la Cecina dopo cotta).
  5. Lasciare la teglia nel forno e lentamente e con attenzione versare  la pastella nella teglia calda. Mescolare leggermente con il cucchiaio in modo da distribuire l’olio e la pastella.
  6. Chiudere il forno e cuocere per 15-20 minuti (nel mio forno ha cotto in 20 minuti), ruotando la teglia di tanto in tanto, finché la Cecina risulti dorata e croccante all’esterno. Se necessario, passarla sotto il grill per un paio di minuti.
  7. Togliere dal forno, cospargere con pepe nero appena macinato e qualche rametto di rosmarino (opzionale). Tagliare a fette e servire calda.

Notes

La Cecina va mangiata calda appena uscita dal forno.

Se usate teglie più piccole di 30 cm, cuocetela in 2 infornate perché deve essere bassa.

 

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40 Comments

  • Reply Milena Perrine January 18, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    This flatbread I have got to try! You have peaked my interest. Actually, I think that every time your post and recipe are written in Italian too, the food is super good, because Italians sure know what to eat:)

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 18, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you, Milena! I love reading your comments 😉 Hope you try it, and don’t forget to let me know how you like it!! 🙂

  • Reply Dawn @ Girl Heart Food January 19, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Your Canadian morning sounds super relaxing. Though, I would love to visit Italy one day. It was just this week that I said to hubby that when we go, we’ll have to consult you guys!! This flatbread sounds so good and I love how few ingredients there are…not to mention how much I enjoy rosemary. Bet this would be lovely on its own or even on a charcuterie board with some vino. Pinned! Big hugs, you guys! XO

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 19, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Sure, Dawn! We’ll give you some good tips and suggestions. Italy is beautiful! This flatbread, like you said, t’s good on its own or with some meats and cheeses. Hugs back at you!

  • Reply annie@ciaochowbambina January 22, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Oh yes, I can imagine this piled high with cooked greens and Tuscan meats and cheeses! A beautiful meal that comforts at every level!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 22, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Yes, Annie! So good with a side of greens, meats and cheeses! Thanks so much!

  • Reply Kate January 22, 2018 at 8:09 am

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to try these. I can think of so many things they would go well with!

  • Reply Cathy January 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I’m excited to try this gluten free recipe! I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’m always looking for interesting, new-to-me, things that I can bake and eat.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 22, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you so much, Cathy! Hope you try it and let us know. I’m going to make it again, soon! 🙂

      • Reply Cathy January 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        I just made this, and I like it! It’s amazingly easy, and will be a great gluten-free bread alternative. I’m glad that you told us to leave the pan in the oven for pouring in the batter and that, for once, I followed instructions!

        • Nicoletta
          Reply Nicoletta January 27, 2018 at 11:09 pm

          Thanks so much, Cathy for giving us your feedback! I am happy you liked it. And yes it’s very easy so we can make it often :-). I am also glad you appreciated the tip about leaving the pan in the oven, the batter is too runny and the pan not too tall, the risk is spilling it all over 🙂

  • Reply Sarah @ Champagne Tastes January 22, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I haven’t tried cooking with chickpea flour yet! I need to find some- this looks incredible!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 22, 2018 at 11:35 pm

      Glad we sparked some interest to use chickpea flour 🙂 . It is amazing and so good for you. Thank you, Sarah!!

  • Reply chef mimi January 23, 2018 at 7:05 am

    I had no idea that these are eaten that far in to Italy! I’m familiar with them called socca, in southeastern France, and know that they’re also eaten over the border, called Farinata. So funny how names change so much! Yours are beautiful.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 23, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Chef Mimi so happy that you know what it is! Yes, it is funny how many names it goes with 🙂 . Thank you! It was so good, my hope is to keep this traditional “poor” foods alive!!

      • Reply chef mimi January 23, 2018 at 7:14 am

        Although I don’t think there’s oil in socca, at least in the recipe I used when I made them once. I also learned that chick pea flour needs to be refrigerated so it doesn’t go rancid. Good lesson!

  • Reply Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen January 23, 2018 at 9:08 am

    The Italians definitely know how to make good food! This sounds super yummy, it’s going on my ‘make list’!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 24, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Thank you, Carrie! Hope you try it!

  • Reply FoodieGirlChicago January 26, 2018 at 6:52 am

    This looks really tasty and a good reason to start using chickpea flour!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 26, 2018 at 9:34 am

      It is very tasty, thank you! And yes, it’s always a good reason to use chickpea flour.

  • Reply Marisa Franca @ All Our Way January 27, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    It looks so delicious!! And I agree it would be great accompaning some dark greens stirred up with some pancetta! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 27, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      You’re getting me hungry, too, Marisa! Thank you so much!

  • Reply Meymi-Pastry and Beyond January 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    It looks very yummy! Chickpea flour makes it so special for gluten-free dieters! I love flatbread a lot and I’m sure yours taste so good with chickpea flour and rosemary topping.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 27, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      Yes, indeed, Meymi! Thank you so much!

  • Reply Leslie January 28, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I’ve never used chickpea flour before – I think I’ll use this recipe as my first try!

  • Reply Julie | Bunsen Burner Bakery January 28, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I cook with chickpea flour a lot but haven’t tried baking with it yet. This looks like such a great idea! My toddler loves all kinds of bread – what a great way to get in some extra protein that he’ll be excited to eat.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      I am sure the whole family would love this! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Reply lauren January 28, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    This looks wonderful. I love all Italian food and love discovering new recipes. I’ll definitely be making this the next time I put together a meat and cheese board. We have an awesome Italian market down the street that will have the perfect pairings!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 29, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      That is going to be awesome! Thanks so much!

  • Reply staceymdoyle January 28, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve never used chickpea flour before, but these sound so good I’m going to have to give it go. Love it!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 29, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Yes! Hope you do try to bake with chickpea flour. Thanks!

  • Reply babylovesberry January 29, 2018 at 12:48 am

    Using garbanzo bean flour for a flat bread is a very creative move ! Must be very tasty !

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 29, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Old, classic recipes are my favorites and work amazingly. Thank you!

  • Reply Jodie Morgan January 29, 2018 at 9:19 am

    What a great recipe! I love simple food like this. I think I have a bag of chickpea flour in my kitchen just begging to be turned into this.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you!! I love simple foods too and this is great 🙂 .

  • Reply VeronikasKitchen.com January 29, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I never used chickpea flour it before, but it looks very delicious! Would love to try your recipe!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Chickpea flour seems to be underrated but it’s so good and good for you. Thanks!

  • Reply annika January 30, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    This is right up my alley! I use chickpea flour quite a bit for my Indian recipes but it would be nice to try something new. I was thinking that a cast iron skillet would be good as it holds the heat while reading this and then I got to the end and saw that you do recommend it. Lovely recipe!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 31, 2018 at 10:37 am

      I haven’t tried baking it in a cast iron, but I am guessing it would work. Make sure it is big enough for the Cecina to be thin, my only suggestion 🙂 . Thank you so much, and hope you like it!

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