Sagne a pèzze or ‘tacconelle’ pasta
“Sagne a pezze”, also called “tacconelle”, is one of Abruzzo’s most popular and widespread types of pasta.
This opaque ivory-coloured variety is made from durum wheat semolina and soft wheat flour, and usually cut into diamond or similar shapes. The dough is made by adding water and salt to a mixture of equal parts of semolina and flour. After mixing and kneading, the dough is covered with a clean cloth and allowed to rest for about an hour, then it is rolled out, but not too thinly, with a rolling pin.
The very dry, floured pasta sheet is then cut into strips 3-4 cm wide, which are placed on top of one another and cut quickly into lozenge shapes with a knife.
The pasta is at its best served with a fresh and very simple liquid sauce made with chopped fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, flavoured with grated Pecorino cheese. It is also served with legumes, generally beans, chickpeas or fresh fava beans with cheek bacon.
Another form, often slightly larger in size, is the Teramo “papicci” or “pappicci”, served with tomato sauce that may contain cubed pork cheek or belly, and chilli pepper.
In the Upper Sangro area, a “sagne” recipe also exists, but has potatoes as well as beans, and is called “abbòtta pezzènte”. This dialect expression, meaning “peasant filler”, underscores the high nutritional content of this soup and there is no doubt that the recipe’s survival can be attributed to word of mouth amongst older country folk.