The oldest proof of ciceri e tria dates back to the Satires of Horace (35-30 BC), when the poet said: “inde domum me/ad porri et ciceris refero laganique catrium” (then I come back home to my bowl of chickpeas, leeks and pasta). Lagane are similar to a kind of lasagna pasta without eggs, that are typically prepared in Salento. With time passing, lagane have been, in part, replaced by tria. Itrya is an Arabic word meaning fried noodles (or dried pasta). In order to prolong the preservation of the pasta, the Arabs used to fry it in animal fat. In this way, during their long journeys, they could store it for many months, ready for use.
Start by soaking the chickpeas in water for at least 10 hours before cooking them. Once they are softened, put them in a terracotta pot along with the garlic, tomatoes, celery, laurel and add enough water so that the beans will be covered by at least one finger of water on top. Cook for about 2 hours on low flame. If the broth dries up, add hot water to prevent that the chickpeas remain uncovered and will not cook well. Once the chickpeas are cooked, transfer them into a vegetable mill and mix (it gives a creamy texture to the dish).
In the meantime prepare pasta (the sagna) using only semolina, flour, lukewarm water and salt. Knead the dough thoroughly, roll it out thin, like a typical lasagna and cut into long strips (like noodles). A part of this pasta (40%) has to be fried in hot oil, while the rest must be boiled in water for a few minutes and then drained and poured into the chickpea pan along with the fried noodles. Let the course rest for a few minutes in order not to burn your palate and…it will be ready to be savored.