La Crapiata Materana / A Traditional Soup from Matera (Basilicata)

March 19, 2023

La Crapiata Materana, a nourishing and hearty soup, traditionally connected to the territory of the region of Basilicata.

It’s based on dry pulses, grains and little seasoning. A good drizzle of a local fragrant olive oil and a toasted  typical bread, Pane di Altamura, is a match made in heaven. I like to cook it a day earlier allowing the flavours to mature over time.

Use a mixture of the below dry pulses and grains:

  • broad beans
  • peas
  • chickpeas
  • cicerchie known as grass pea or chickling vetch
  • lentils
  • white beans
  • durum wheat
  • spelt

For 4 portions:

  • 300 g of the above pulse mix (left to soak in cold water overnight)
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1-2 bay leaves (optional)
  • salt
  • water
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 tomato or 1 flat tablespoon of a tomato pure

Drain the pre-soaked pulses and grains.

Heat up in a pot on a medium heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots. Fry for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and carry on frying until the vegetables soften a little.

Now add the drained pulse mix, quartered tomato or tomato pure and cover with just enough water.  The level of water should be about 2-3 cm above the ingredients.

Put the lid on, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat (add the bay leaf if using).

After 20 minutes add the potato to the soup and season it with some salt, give everything a stir  and carry on cooking for further 40 minutes or so, until all the ingredients turn soft.

Switch the heat off and taste the crapiata, season with more salt if needed and let it rest.

Serve the soup warm with a generous drizzle of a fragrant olive oil (preferably from Matera) and a toasted bread (made of semola if available).