Farinata and the Seven Dwarfs

IMG_1955Farinata! I had the pleasure of eating it twice in the past week around Torino. If you don’t know what farinata is, check out this post I wrote about it. The quick and dirty definition is a flat baked dish made with chick pea flour, olive oil, and salt. But that doesn’t do justice to the flavor explosion, the warm and creamy interior, the crusty and flaky top and bottom, the hint of spice from sprinkled black pepper… OK I’ll stop now.

In the above snapshot you can see the farinata that I ate last night when I went out for an aperitivo at the Caffé Rossini in Torino with a friend. We got there kind of early so I was eating other things, but I kept watching the counter to see if they would bring out any farinata, which is really good there. Finally my friend noticed that they put some out, and we wasted no time in hopping to the counter in a single leap and filling our plates.

IMG_1771This photo, on the other hand, was taken last Friday when I was out for pizza at a pizzeria called Alla Baita dei Sette Nani (At the Seven Dwarfs’ Hut). I didn’t actually eat pizza that time, but just got this generous plate of farinata. They had three serving sizes, and I got the largest one, which the server described as abbondante.

This pizzeria was really nice. It had an old fashioned, homey mountain feel inside and posters and decorations of the seven dwarfs everywhere. The three people I saw working there also seemed just barely five feet tall (152 cm). Now remember what the place is called….

They had a big wood burning oven in the back and cooked huge pans of farinata. I think the pan they used accounted for this farinata not being crispy on the bottom, which was strange, but besides that it was some of the best farinata I’ve ever had (so was the farinata from the above aperitivo). To tell you the truth, it’s hard to find farinata that I don’t like, but it has happened.

This is a picture of my place mat at the pizzeria; the top says “The seven dwarfs recommend their latest specialties”. I finally learned all of the Italian names for the Seven Dwarfs.

IMG_1769Here they are, with [hopefully accurate] explanations:

Dotto – Doc (scholarly [adj] or intellectual [n])
Mammolo – Bashful (naive person or simpleton)
Gongolo – Happy (??? any ideas?)
Brontolo – Grumpy (from the verb brontolare [grumble, mutter, growl])
Eolo – Sneezy (Eolo is Aeolus, the god of the winds)
Pisolo – Sleepy (from pisolino [nap])
Cucciolo – Dopey (puppy or baby animal)

I have to go food shopping because there’s not much to eat in the house. But as long as you have chick pea flour, you can make farinata (olive oil and salt are staples that are usually in). So I had farinata for breakfast this morning too. Thank goodness nobody will ever find out.

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5 Responses to Farinata and the Seven Dwarfs

  1. Lucy says:

    Ooh yummy, it looks really similar to panelle from Sicily (or whatever it’s called… it’s basically fried chickpea flour in bread! health alert!) I love the dwarves at the pizzeria, lots of fishy pizzas yummy xxx
    La Lingua : Food, Life, Love, Travel, Friends, Italy

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Lucy, thanks for stopping by! I never heard of panelle, but I looked them up right after reading your comment. Seriously, anything that resembles a farinata sandwich looks good to me! I found a recipe here: http://ricette.giallozafferano.it/Panelle.html. They’re more labor intensive than farinata, but I’d love to try them at home, or better yet, go to Palermo and sample the real thing :)

  2. Laura says:

    I have been making farinata since your original post and recipe about it. Last fall we were in Acqui Terme and found a small restaurant that specialized in farinata – they had huge pans and a wood fired oven. We ordered and then the cook came out to be sure that we smothered it with fresh ground pepper. Delicious!

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Laura, I’m so happy that you’ve been making farinata after reading my post. I hope you’ll have many more opportunities to find it in Italy.

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