St Scholastica’s Pasta e Ceci
In the 5th century, the twins St Benedict and St Scholastic were born in Nursia (now Norcia) in the central Italian province of Umbria.
At an early age, Scholastica entered a convent where the Benedictine motto Ora et Labora (pray and work) became an absolute joy for the young abbess, for she had practised it since childhood. She found it the best way to keep her mind occupied with God even though her duties as abbess kept her busy most of the day.
Pope Gregory the Great explained that, although Benedict had set out a rule of life for these holy women, it was Scholastica’s duty to see that they kept it faithfully and cheerfully as the best way to sanctification.
Each year, Benedict and Scholastica met to discuss their way of life and the various spiritual challenges in the two religious houses. Since women were not allowed to enter his monastery, Benedict and a few companions met her in a guesthouse near Monte Casino. Scholastica rarely got to see her beloved twin. On what turned out to be their final visit, Benedict indicated that he had to leave so as not to be outside the monastery overnight. Scholastica implored him to stay for the night, but he refused.
She started to weep and prayed to God.
Suddenly violent thunder and lightning erupted, the skies opened and a mighty storm commenced. Benedict was forced to stay the night. Scholastica said: “You would not listen to me, but God did.” They spent the night in spiritual and heavenly talk.
Scholastica died a few days later, and St Benedict was glad to have spent extra time with her. As a result of this incident,
St Scholastica is a patron saint invoked against storms and rain, among others. She was The Southern Cross’ Saint of the Month in February 2022 (back issues are available).
As an abbess, St Scholastica instilled in her Sisters the necessity of living in accordance with the great Benedictine aim:
“That in all things God may be glorified.” The Benedictine values of prayer, work, study, community, reverence and respect are hallmarks of the life of St Scholastica. She is indeed a role model to us all.
Pope St Gregory the Great said of St Scholastica: “She could do more because she loved more.”
This month’s recipe — a good way of celebrating her feast this month, on February 10 — recalls a rustic Italian peasant dish called tuoni e lampo, which means “thunder and lightning”. It is also made with pasta and chickpeas; the “thunder” refers to the profusion of fried chickpeas, and “lightning” to the large amount of coarsely cracked black pepper.
One of the recipes in my cookbook Delicious Italian Moments is pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas) which is similar to tuoni e lampo. It’s easy to prepare in only a few steps. The quantities for this recipe can easily be doubled to serve more than two.
- 300ml cold water • 15ml olive oil •1 garlic clove crushed • 250g pappardelle pasta, broken into rough pieces (or any pasta, such as penne or linguine) •1 tin of chickpeas (including liquid) • Salt and pepper to taste
- Preparation: 40 min • Serves 2
- Bring the water, garlic, olive oil and the liquid of the can of chickpeas to the boil.
- Add the raw pasta and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add half the tin of chickpeas (or more if you prefer), and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add more boiling water (enough to cover the surface of the pasta) if the pasta is still raw and liquids are simmered away. Once pasta is al dente remove it from the stove.
- Serve with ground black pepper and parmesan cheese to taste.
- Enjoy with a prayer to St Scholastica!
This recipe is one of many in Grazia Barletta’s cookbook Delicious Italian Moments. Order it at R200 plus p&p from . Follow her blog at momentswithgrazia.com