Bottega del Bongustaio,
since 1946 in  Assisi,
since 1996 in Internet

Alimentary specialties
of Umbrian tradition

& Hospitality in Assisi

Cereals and legumes recipes

Simple suggestions

Beans, broad beans, chick-peas, after having been cleaned, have to be washed and left in cold and lightly salt water for one night. After that put the pan on the fire with new and fresh water; after a quarter of an hour of boiling replace quickly the water with other boiling-water. Repeat this operation once again and add salt.  Lentils don't need to be left in the water, but for cooking procedure follow the previous suggestions. Aromatic herbs for legumes are: for beans, celery and onion; for chick-peas, garlic and rosemary; for lentils, parsley and garlic; for broad-beans, onion. All legumes can be seasoned with extra virgin olive oil or stewed. If you want to prepare a purÚe, pass them at the sieve when cooked and season with raw extra-virgin olive oil. Cheese, which is not on expedient to the usual meat, or a fast food, is a healthy, nourishing, stimulating food that through simple elaborations can satisfy all alone the need of a meal. 

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The spelt certainly the number one type of grain used by man. It is grown in mountainous areas, and it has many nutritional components. The ancient Romans would crush spelt with a millstone, and use this to make a type of polenta which was not too dense, flavored with honey and oil. Spelt is a member of the grain family, and has high nutritional value. It is more easily digestible than wheat because of its low starch content. Before cooking, always place in water for at least six hours. Then, drain the water and cook in a meat or vegetable broth over high heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.

Mixture of legumes and Polenta maize porridge

For 6 people: prepare gr. 300 of stewed legumes. Put half a liter of lightly salt water; as it boils pour in gr. 300 of maize flour, mix often with a wood ladle to avoid curdling. Let Polenta boil at a low flame for half an hour than pour the legumes in and keep on mixing slowly, let it boil a few minutes serve warm or cold.

Tempting Toast Hors-d'oeuvre

Ingredients: 200 grams of Stracchino, Robiola, or Squacquerone cheese (or a other fresh cheese), 3 tablespoons of "Profumatissimo e Piccantissimo di Assisi" (spice mixture from Assisi).
toast the bread. Mix the cheese and spices. Abundantly spread the cheese mixture on top. Ready to serve. Try this topping on crostini with ham, prosciutto, salami, or anchovies.


Ingredients: 300 grams of lentils, 4 peeled tomatoes, 4 dried boar sausages celery, 2 cloves of garlic, hot pepper, extra-virgin olive oil. Directions (for 4 servings): Place the cicerchie in water for 24 hours, and then boil them. Then prepare a sauce of onions fried in olive oil. Crumble the sausages, cut the vegetables into pieces, and add all this to the sauce. Add the boiled cicerchie and allow the mixture to sit for several minutes to enrich the flavor.

Mixed Bean Stew

Ingredients: 200 grams of mixed dried beans, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1/2 onion, 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 40 grams of the fat from prosciutto, 200 grams of peeled tomatoes, salt, pepper.
Directions (for 4 servings): cook the beans. Pound the fat gently, and place in a pan with a little oil, the celery, carrot, onion, salt and pepper. Brown, and then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 10 minutes. Drain the cooked beans, and add them to the sauce mixture. Pour in 2 glasses of a stock, or add boiling water. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.


Broth with Farro

Ingredients: 250 grams of farro, 1 bone from a prosciutto, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 100 grams of ripe tomatoes, salt, pepper, 2,5 liters of water, 4 tablespoons of sharp grated cheese, extra virgin olive oil.
Directions (for 4 servings):
soak the farro for at least 6 hours. Boil the bone of prosciutto in water for 30 minutes before using it in the broth. Remove the bone and prepare broth by combining the bone, celery, carrot, onion, tomatoes, in a new pot with 2-1/2 liters of water, which has salt and pepper added to it. Cook for at least 1 hour, until it is reduced to half. Strain the broth from the cooked mixture into another pot. Drizzle the farro into the broth, to avoid lumps, and cook for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with grated cheese, olive oil and hot pepper.

Rice and Lentil Soup

Ingredients: 200 grams of lentils, 200 grams of rice, 2 or 3 tablespoons of bacon fat, 1 clove of garlic, parsley, 3 or 4 ripe peeled tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, salt, peppers.
Directions (for 5 servings):
wash the lentils, or soak overnight, according to the package directions. Place in 1-1/2 liters of cold water, flavored with carrots, celery, and the onion. Cook until done, approximately 20 minutes. In another pan, saute` the bacon fat with garlic, parsley finely chopped. Add tomatoes, and cook. As soon as it is ready, pour the sautÚ mixture into the lentils, and add the rice. Stir continuously, allowing all the ingredients to mix. Serve warm.

Farro with Almonds and Saffron

*In 1585, Suor Maria Vittoria DallaVerde wrote in her recipe book "Sift and wash the farro, and discard the remains inside the sifter. Boil for a long time over low heat with a little water, and mix continuously, avoiding to burn the farro. Crush the almonds, add water to make a paste, and add to the cooked farro. Add pepper, saffron, and salt."
100 grams of shelled and peeled almonds, 100 grams of farro of Assisi, one packet of saffron, 2.5 liters of broth of personal choice of stock with no spices, salt, pepper.
Directions (for 4 servings):
let the almonds sit in water for 4 hours. Crush them into a paste. Soak the farro in water for at least 6 hours. Drain the water from the farro, replace with the broth, and cook until tender, stirring often. Save some broth for later. Add the almonds, saffron, pepper, and salt, and stir continuously until smooth. Add the remaining broth if necessary.

* Da Gola E Preghiera, Foligno 1988, p. 283.


Ingredients: 300 grams of lentils, 1/2 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 4 tomatoes peeled, 2 stalks of celery, olive oil, hot pepper. Directions (for 4 servings): boil the lentils in salted water with the garlic and the celery. In a pan, prepare a sauce with olive oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, and hot pepper. SautÚ until all the ingredients are blended together. Add the sauce to the lentils and water, and place the entire mixture in a strainer. Brush garlic on the toast and place in dishes. Pour lentil mixture over the toast and serve warm.
For the lentil patÚ: boil the lentils in salted water. After they are cooked, drain and mix with the above sauce. At very low temperature, mix continuously to avoid burning the lentils, and continue until the mixture becomes dense. Spread on toast and serve.

Salad with Farro

Ingredients: 400 grams of farro, 2 ripe tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon of salted capers, 1 parsley, black pitted olives, olive oil flavored with spices, salt, vinegar.
Directions (for 4 servings):
cook the farro according to the directions in "The Nature of Farro" seen above. Allow to cool. Wash the capers. Slice the tomatoes, and add the olives, capers, parsley, salt, and a few drops of vinegar, olive oil. Drain the farro and add to the tomato mixture. Combine and allow to cool to room temperature prior to serving.

The Italian Flag

Ingredients: 4 zucchini, 1 large onion, 2 ripe tomatoes, 1 red pepper, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper.
Directions (for 4 servings):
cut the onion, zucchini, and pepper into small pieces. Place in a pan with the oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cut in irregular pieces. Cook a the entire mixture for 15 more minutes. Serve on toasted bread.


Farro Torte

Ingredients: 250 grams of farro, 80 grams of grated cheese, salt, pepper, rag¨, vegetable broth, creme puff pastry dough (enough for a pie top and bottom), butter.
Directions (for 4 servings):
prepare your own rag¨ (tomato sauce). Wash the farro. Add the farro to the rag¨, along with salt, pepper, and cheese. Let simmer until the farro absorbs all the liquid. Add some vegetable broth as needed during the cooking. Butter a deep pie plate, and place pastry dough for the bottom of the pie. Evenly spread the farro in the pie. Cover with the pastry dough for the top of the pie. Put in the oven set at a medium temperature until the crust is golden brown. Eat immediately.

Farro in Broth

"This ancient grain was so prized by the Romans that it was even used in the marriage rite. In fact, at the moment of the ceremony when the bride presented herself to her husband-to-be, a focaccia made from farro was shared by the two people. From this, came the Roman word "confarrea," from the verb "confarreare," to act with "farreum."*
100 grams of farro, 2,5 liters of meat or vegetable broth, 2 egg yolks, a pinch of saffron, salt, black pepper.
Directions (for 4 servings):
cook the farro according to the directions in "The Nature of Farro" seen above. Beat the egg yolks in a dish with a little broth, and pour into the farro mixture. Add the saffron, salt, and pepper, and stir delicately to allow the broth to become very smooth. According to personal taste, add cinnamon and coriander.

*Quotation and recipe taken from the book "I picchiarelli della malanotte. Appunti di cucina in Umbria," published on Foligno 1990, pp. 50-1.

Combination of Mixed Beans with Polenta

Ingredients: 300 grams of mixed beans, 300 grams of corn meal, 1,5 liters of water, lightly salted.
Directions (for 6 servings):
sautŔ the mixed beans in sauce of tomatoes and onion, and place on the side. Put the salted water in a pan and place on the heat. Just when the water begins to boil, drizzle the corn meal into the water and stir continuously, preferably with a wooden spoon, to make the mixture smooth and to avoid lumps. Cook for 20 minutes. Then add the bean mixture and cook for a few more minutes until blended. Can be served hot or cold.

Farro and Vegetables

Ingredients: 200 grams of farro, 4 potatoes, 4 zucchini, 100 grams of string beans, 200 grams of white beans, 300 grams of savor cabbage carrots or other vegetables, 100 grams of finely cut bacon, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 hot pepper, extra virgin olive oil salt.
Directions (for 4 servings): cook the farro according to the directions in "The Nature of Farro" seen above. Cook each of the vegetables separately. Fry the garlic and the bacon in some oil. After browned, dice the vegetables and add to the garlic and bacon. Drain the water from the farro, and add to the vegetables. Flavor with the pepper, and simmer for a few minutes.
This can be served as a side dish to meat, or can be eaten as its own entree`, on top of toasted bread, which can be flavoured with spices and olive oil.


The traditional cicerchie recipe is very simple: Let the beans sit for at least 12 hours in water. Then boil them in a little bit of lightly-salted water. While the beans are boiling, prepare a sauce made of oil, rosemary and garlic. Add some ripe tomatoes and salt to taste, and cook for a few minutes. Combine the beans and the sauce in the final minutes, and serve with a little bit of extravirgin olive oil and black pepper.

ANOTHER RECIPE. Ingredients: 400 grams of cicerchie, 4 fresh sausages, olive oil with hot peppers, 2 ripe tomatoes, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1 onion, salt to taste. Directions (for 4 servings): Place the cicerchie in water for 12 hours, and then boil them. Then prepare a sauce of onions fried in extra-virgin olive oil. Crumble the sausages, cut the vegetables into pieces, and add all this to the sauce. Add the boiled cicerchie and allow the mixture to sit for several minutes to enrich the flavor. Serve warm over a piece of toasted bread.

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Since 1946: Gambacorta - Bottega del Bongustaio - via S. Gabriele, 17 06081 Assisi (PG) - Italia
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