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Dishes fromImma Tataranni’s Kitchen

Basilicata-Style Ratatouille

Written by Linda SarrisPhotos by Luisa Misseri

Seasons 3 coming Spring 2023!
EDITOR'S NOTE: When we reached out to Chef Linda Sarris about a recipe series based on Matera's own Deputy Prosecutor Imma Tataranni, she immediately said, "Yes! And would you believe I just returned from a trip to Matera in Basilicata?" We think you'll agree, Linda's first-hand knowledge of the food, people and culture of Matera deliciously inform these Imma Tataranni inspired recipes!


Basilicata-Style Ratatouille

Pair this recipe with:

A short scene from Imma Tataranni Season 1 Ep. 4 where Valentina and her grandmother prepare Ciambotta for their online cooking channel. Now streaming on MHz Choice.


Ciambotta is a delicious recipe to pair with meat or fish. It can be served as a side dish or even as a sumptuous topping for bruschetta. Reminiscent of a French ratatouille or Sicilian caponata, this traditional tomato-based cooked vegetable dish is common in the Italian region of Basilicata. It is a versatile recipe that can be prepared with whatever you find available, most commonly made in summertime with colorful bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes and celery. The best part is it can easily be prepared ahead of time and it will taste even better the next day.

Imma Tataranni’s daughter Valentina and her grandmother prepared this dish together for their online cooking channel. While describing how incredible it was going to turn out, Nonna Tataranni mentioned that “when you’re hungry, even roasted stones are good”.  Although their freestyle step-by-step instructions followed along the lines of “take the pepper, add the pepper” and vague quantities of “whatever is needed”, we have written up a proper recipe right here for you to follow.


Ciambotta Ingredients:
Serves 4

1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 stalks of celery
4 small Yukon Gold potatoes
2 eggplants
14 oz. can/jar of tomato sauce
2 sprigs of fresh basil

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Start by chopping all of your vegetables. I like to use two different colors for the bell peppers and chop one into small cubes and the other into strips. Slice the celery and onion. Peel the potatoes and rough chop into small cubes and place into a bowl of cold water while you wait so they do not oxidize and turn brown. In a large sauté pan, sweat the sliced onion in extra virgin olive oil then add the drained potatoes since they will take the longest to cook. After about 5 minutes, add the celery and bell peppers and give it a stir.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F. While the sauté pan is simmering, dice the eggplant into bite-sized pieces and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake the eggplant for about 15 minutes until the outside is golden brown and it can still keep its shape. Blot dry on a piece of paper towel to remove the excess oil then set it aside.

Season everything with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and continue to cook the veggies for another 10 minutes until the flavors all blend together and everything has softened up. Add the tomato sauce and simmer everything together for another 10 minutes until it thickens up. Check the seasoning and then stir in the roasted eggplant and fresh basil at the very end. Serve warm or at room temperature.

On the Table in Basilicata: Dishes from Imma Tataranni’s Kitchen Recipes

About the Chef
Linda Sarris is a food/wine travel consultant and private chef based in Palermo, Sicily. From her sun-lit kitchen studio above the 1,000 year-old Ballarò food market, Linda works as a freelance writer, social media manager, and culinary communications consultant while still traveling regularly for private chef work with clients in the fashion and music industries. Under her brand, @thecheekychef, she is self-publishing a Sicilian food and wine ‘zine and curates a series of Mediterranean culinary/lifestyle retreats and travel experiences. Her first book will be published in 2022 with Hachette Book Group.