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Authentic Italian Farinata: Easy to Make Chickpea Pancake Recipe

Authentic Italian Farinata: Easy to Make Chickpea Pancake Recipe

Discover the magic of farinata – a gluten-free Italian chickpea pancake with a soft, custardy center and irresistibly crisp exterior

Embark on a culinary journey to the sun-drenched shores of Liguria with this traditional farinata recipe. This humble yet delectable chickpea pancake has been a staple of Italian cuisine for centuries, offering a perfect blend of simplicity and flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious home cook, this recipe will transport your taste buds straight to the charming streets of Acqui Terme.

Farinata’s allure lies in its contrasting textures – a soft, custardy center that melts in your mouth, paired with a lightly crisp and golden-brown exterior. The earthy aroma of chickpeas mingles with the fragrant notes of rosemary, creating a truly unforgettable sensory experience.

One of the beauties of farinata is its naturally gluten-free nature. The absence of gluten means you can achieve a wonderfully custardy texture without any risk of the pancake becoming dense or rubbery. The chickpea flour not only provides structure but also imparts a distinct flavor reminiscent of green peas, minus the sweetness.

To create the perfect farinata, start with high-quality, finely ground chickpea flour. The key to achieving that coveted custardy consistency lies in the ratio of water to chickpea flour – a precise 3:1 by weight. This results in a batter that may seem alarmingly thin, but trust the process – it’s exactly what you need for authentic farinata.

Allow the batter to rest for about four hours, giving the flour ample time to hydrate fully. During this resting period, a foam will form on the surface – simply skim it off before cooking.

When you’re ready to cook, crank your oven up to its highest setting. A pizza stone or baking steel can be a game-changer here, helping to mimic the intense heat of a traditional wood-fired oven. The goal is to create a crisp bottom while achieving that perfect golden-brown top.

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is the ideal vessel for cooking farinata. The generous layer of olive oil not only prevents sticking but also contributes to the pancake’s irresistible flavor and texture.

As the farinata bakes, your kitchen will fill with the intoxicating aroma of toasted chickpeas and fresh rosemary. The moment it emerges from the oven, golden and slightly puffed, you’ll understand why this humble pancake has stood the test of time.

Serve your farinata while it’s still warm, cut into wedges like a pizza. It’s perfect as an appetizer, a light meal, or even as a unique base for your favorite toppings. Pair it with a crisp white wine from the Ligurian coast for the ultimate Italian experience.

Authentic Italian Farinata (Chickpea Pancake) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (2 cups; 226g) finely ground chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume
  • 3 cups (710ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Picked rosemary leaves, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour and salt. Gradually add water, whisking constantly, until a smooth, thin batter forms. Let stand, covered, at least 4 and up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 550°F (288°C) and position oven rack in second position from top. If you have a pizza stone or baking steel, set it on the rack (it will help crisp the farinata from below, but isn’t required).
  3. Pour olive oil into a well-seasoned large 12-inch cast iron skillet and swirl to fully coat bottom in an even layer. Using a spoon, scrape any foam from surface of batter and discard. Stir batter to mix well, then pour into skillet. Stir gently to swirl oil on top of batter. Season all over with black pepper and sprinkle with rosemary leaves, if using.
  4. Turn on broiler. Set skillet on pizza stone or baking steel, or on the oven rack if not using a stone, and cook until farinata has just set, no longer jiggles, and is browned all over, 11 to 15 minutes.
  5. Let farinata cool slightly until set, about 10 minutes. Eat warm or at room temperature.

Notes

If your broiler cycles off, you can prop the oven door open with a utensil to keep it on the whole time.

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