This Sept. 30, 2013 photo shows Italian-style hummus with diced tomatoes in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
What would happen if hummus had been invented in Italy, rather than the Middle East?
I decided to answer the question for myself with this simple reimagining of the classic chickpea puree.
And it’s not as discordant as you might think. Many of the same flavor profiles can be found across both Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Which makes sense, given relative geographic proximity. Even the ingredients and technique have common ground.
Italians make generous use of chickpeas and lemons — both essential to classic hummus. Though in the case of chickpeas, Italians tend to use them more often in soups and pastas than in spreads.
And when they do make spreads, they often reach for other beans, such a favas. And while traditional hummus relies on tahini (ground sesame seeds) to add richness, Italians probably would be more inclined to reach for pine nuts. So with those substitutions in mind, I created this delicious Italian-style hummus topped with diced tomatoes spiked with balsamic vinegar.