Chiotikos Trahana

Chian Pasta

ON CHIOS, the local pasta, called trahana, is made from a dough that contains fine semolina, bread flour, yogurt and pureed cooked tomatoes and onions. Some recipes even include carrots and peppers, both hot and sweet. The most important element, according to the locals, is trahanohorto, a dried herb that is actually the green part of the wild carrot (Daucus carota), which tastes like a cross between chervil and fresh thyme. Trahanohorto is much more fragrant on Chios than elsewhere in Greece. When I make the pasta in Athens, I substitute dried savory.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 2 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried savory, crumbled, or 3 ounces dried trahanohorto
  • 3 pounds fine semolina (about 10 cups)
  • Salt
  • 16 ounces thick sheep’s milk yogurt or
  • Drained Yogurt
  • 1½–2 pounds bread flour (6–8 cups)

Method

In a large pot, combine the tomatoes, onions and savory or trahanohorto and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 35 minutes.

If you have used trahanohorto, discard it. Pass the vegetables through a food mill or puree them in a food processor. Place the puree in a large bowl and stir in the semolina and salt to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

Stir the yogurt into the puree and add enough flour to make a firm dough. It will be very sticky. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 15 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Flatten each piece under your palms to ¼ inch thick and place on the baking sheets. Let dry in the oven for 2 to 3 hours. (Convection ovens work faster.)

Turn the pasta and dry for 1 hour more, or until hard enough to crumble.

Break the pasta into pieces and continue to dry in the oven until quite hard.

Grind the pasta, in batches, in a food processor. Return the crumbs to the baking sheets and continue drying in the oven until very hard, 2 to 3 hours more. (Drying times will vary greatly.) Check and stir the crumbs from time to time.

Let the trahana cool to room temperature, then store in airtight bags or jars. It will keep for more than 1 year.

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