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Farinata (a.k.a. Torta di Ceci)

Mix the water and the flour with a wooden spoon; make sure there are no lumps, add salt to taste, and mix again. Add the rosemary and let it sit for a while (one to three hours). At this point add the olive oil. Remove the rosemary and pour in a baking pan (the right one is called testo, made of "tinned copper"). It should be about an eighth of an inch thick, perhaps a little more. Put it in a preheated oven at 190-200°C (375-400°F). Remove from the oven when one of the corners (or the edge) starts to appear dark. Sprinkle plenty of pepper and serve.

It is of paramount importance that the pan is perfectly flat and level when in the oven, otherwise one of the corners will be thicker and will be undercooked when the opposite corner starts to darken.

It's also fundamental that you use Italian chick peas flour; Middle Eastern flours will yield poor results.

This dish is very common in Northwestern Italy, but virtually impossible to find in the United States.

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Fabrizio Oddone, fab@kagi.com