Words and Images by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray

River Cafe’s Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray share some favourite recipes from a memorable February trip to Italy’s Riviera

We have already written about our trip from Genoa to La Spezia as we were so inspired by the time we spent there. We decided to return but this time to the other ‘side’ from Genoa to Nice. We were curious to taste the food with more Piedmontese and possibly French influence.

Our first stop was in Savona where we ate a farinata, (a chickpea flour pancake), with rosemary and another with artichokes.

All recipes comes from the River Cafe Cook Book Green.

Farinata al Rosmarino

The standard Ligurian farinata pans are thick, round, flat copper pans lined with zinc, and roughly 40cm in diameter. You can use a thick-bottomed stainless-steel frying pan, but it must have an ovenproof handle. If using a frying pan, you can make the farinata in batches.

Ingredients

(enough to serve six people)
300g chickpea flour;
1 litre tepid water;
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper;
1 tablespoon Maldon salt;
extra virgin olive oil;
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked from the stalks.

Preparation

Put the water into a large bowl. Gently pour in the chickpea flour, whisking to avoid lumps. Add the pepper and salt, stir, and allow to sit in a warm place for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 230 0C / 450 0F/ Gas 8 Remove the foam from the top of the batter and stir in 110ml olive oil. Pour a further tablespoon of the oil into the farinata pan or frying pan and put into the oven until the oil is just smoking. Quickly remove and pour in the chickpea batter. The farinata should be very thin – no more than 1cm deep. Sprinkle the rosemary leaves over the top and return to the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is brown and crisp and the middle is still soft.