Who knows if Nicholas Ortore, 74, and Michael Cannarozzi, 41 year-old farmer, they imagined that the broad beans that grew in the Gargano, one day, would end in space. Samantha Cristoforetti, our astronaut, along with Luca Parmitano, has radically changed the feed of the astronauts, bringing the firstfruits of Italian cuisine also there. Imagine with such gravity jolts of their fellow Americans or Russians.
But the Carpino broad beans are here, on earth, and with nutritional properties truly record-breaking: reduced caloric value, high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber (found mainly in the skin). And with a taste really superfine. About the thin skin – which is usually the contrary, is a bit ‘the weak point of all the broad beans – very crumbly, and pulp with an intense taste. With a high content of minerals and antioxidants, in particular dopamine, a substance that plays an important role on the nervous system and in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Between straw and horses
And to say that the Carpino broad bean, in the 90s, was literally disappearing. This lsmall to medium sized legume, Slow food protected, it is in fact produced in the homonymous garganic village, in the province of Foggia, on a clay and limestone soil and a quite particular microclimate. It is produced in rotation with wheat, sugar beets, tomatoes and lupins. The seeds are sown in the months of October and November: fertilizers are not used, as the broad bean enriches the soil with nitrogen. When plants are yellowing, in June, they will mow by hand and bind in sheaves called “Manocchi” that must be dried in the field. In July, when the Manocchi, are well dried, after eliminating the straw passes to the stage of weighing. With traditional wooden forks, the broad beans are separated from the chaff. To remove the smallest particles are lifted with wooden paddles and throw themselves into the air. At one time this product was obtained by drying the pods in the sun and letting go wide on a horse.
Historical Storage Tank
The historical research has confirmed that the Gargano has always been considered one of the areas most suited to the production of broad beans. Along with other legumes such as chickpeas, beans and grass peas, formed for a long time the main protein source for farmers. Up the end of 800, when the price of broad beans began to rise on and, on the table of the peasants of Gargano, the broad beans will be gradually replaced by potatoes. The production, however, in the early twentieth century stood in Gargano on 40 thousand quintals (9 thousand only in Carpino), compared to 150 thousand quintals of potatoes. The production was still significant in the 60s, when from Carpino fresh and dry broad beans departed for the whole Puglia. Then, the decadence, slow and inexorable because of its low productivity. In the 90s, to cultivate them, had remained Nicola Ortore and Antonio Cannarozzi, over an area of 3.4 hectares. Then, rediscovered and appreciated, Carpino broad beans can now count on a small production of quality, which is spread over 10 hectares of land and stood at an annual average of 300 quintals.
The simple soup
But what are the recipes that can be realized thanks to Carpino broad beans? The starting point is the traditional broad beans soup, prepared by soaking the dried beans for 12 hours and cooking them in a pan with a fried onions for 5-6 minutes. After this he adds plenty of water and cook for 2 hours, seasoning with salt at the end, oregano and extra virgin olive oil.
Chicory, pumpkin and potatoes
All to enjoy Carpino broad beans and chicory of field, boiled apart in equal measure, then added to the pan fried onions, with salt and extra virgin olive oil as a finishing touch. Can also be enjoyed the Carpino soup, made with beans, potatoes and pumpkin, with the three elements boiled in one pot and with the addition of olive oil.
But you can also throw in more elaborate but genuine recipes.
Putting Carpino broad beans in pasta, for example. An example? Pici Senesi with cream of broccoli, Carpino broad beans, crispy guanciale and parmesan. Or linguine with asparagus, pancetta and Carpino broad beans. But Gargano also means sea, so why do not try the tagliatelle with murex (mollusks) and cream of Carpino broad beans? Or octopus on Carpino broad bean puree?