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Dishes fromImma Tataranni’s Kitchen

Handmade Pasta with Chickpeas, Garlic and Chili Pepper

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!

Lagane e Ceci

Handmade pasta with chickpeas, garlic and chili pepper

Pair this recipe with:

A short scene from Imma Tataranni Season 1 Ep. 4 where Valentina reviews her online cooking channel’s recipe for Lagane (Bandit’s Dish). Now streaming on MHz Choice.


Although most Italians commonly eat dry pasta at lunchtime, a fresh handmade pasta will always be a special treat. In northern Italy, the fresh pasta is made with eggs, which gives it that beautiful bright yellow color and aids in the elasticity to stretch out the dough for stuffed pasta like tortellini. In southern Italy, fresh pasta is typically made only with flour and water. The most common shapes being cavatelli and orecchiette. In most of Italy’s poorer regions, such as Basilicata or Calabria, their traditional recipes come from the “cucina povera” school of thought, always working with low-cost ingredients like beans, vegetables and very limited quantities of meat, eggs and cheese. 

The recipe we’re featuring today is Lagane e Ceci, a hearty but exquisite vegetarian and vegan handmade pasta dish with chickpeas, garlic, tomato and chili pepper. 

Lagane e Ceci is a regional recipe highlighted in yet another one of Imma Tataranni’s daughter’s noneducational but always entertaining online cooking videos. While Valentina prepares this handmade pasta dish with chickpeas, she checks in with her Nonna for a little background story on the dish. Valentina explains that the Lagane e Ceci is also referred to as the “bandit’s dish” and when asking her Nonna why they would call it that, the lighthearted but blunt reply was merely, “because the bandits ate lagane and chickpeas”. Whether this story is true or not, we’re sure you will enjoy it.

Lagane e Ceci

Notes from the Chef:

Cover the dry chickpeas with cold water and let them soak at room temperature overnight. The importance of cooking your own chickpeas (instead of using a ready to use canned version) is that the liquid from the chickpeas will be used instead of broth to help make the sauce for this pasta dish. I also like to take a half cup of chickpeas and puree them in a food processor with a bit of the liquid to add a creamier element to the sauce.

4 c. finely ground semolina flour (400g)
1 c. hot water
1 c. dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
extra virgin olive oil

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1 onion, chopped
14 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 small red chili pepper
black pepper
sea salt
fresh thyme or marjoram

Begin with the chickpeas since this step will take about 45 minutes. Drain your soaked chickpeas and place them in a large sauce pan. Add cold water until you have twice the volume of the chickpeas and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the chickpeas cook for about 45 minutes until tender. 

While the chickpeas cook, start working on the pasta dough. On a flat surface, mound the semolina flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add about half of the hot water to begin. With a fork or your fingertips, begin to mix the water into the edges of the flour without breaking the outer wall of your well. Gradually incorporate the flour into the center well until all of it has been added. If you need to add more water, just add a little bit at a time. The dough should start to come together into a soft mass but not be sticky at all. Knead the dough, gradually adjusting the flour and water until you have a firm dough that has a bit of elasticity. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes to one hour.


As the chickpeas finish cooking and the pasta rests, make the sauce for the pasta and bring a separate pot of heavily salted water up to a boil for the pasta. Start by sautéing the onion, garlic and chili pepper on low heat with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Stir to make sure the onion and garlic do not burn and continue cooking until the onions soften and become translucent. At this point if the chickpeas are ready, add them into the pot and cover with a ladle or two of the chickpea cooking liquid. Bring it up to a boil and add the whole peeled tomatoes, carefully squeezing each one before adding it to the pot to release the delicious juices inside. Lightly mash the chickpeas with a wooden spoon while cooking so they can slightly break down into the sauce. If you want to puree a small portion, this will also make the sauce creamier. Season to taste with salt and pepper at this point. 

Make your rough-cut noodles by hand by rolling out the pasta dough with a kitchen rolling pin. Lightly cover your work area with a sprinkle of flour and divide the dough into four parts. Begin rolling out one small piece of dough as thinly as possible into a long rectangular or oval shape. The beauty of this pasta is that it is not perfect and even a beginner will be able to make a great product. With a sharp knife or rolling pasta wheel cutter, slice the dough into long strips about as wide as your thumb. Toss with additional flour and place them on a flour-dusted kitchen towel-lined tray. Work on the other pieces of dough and check on your pasta sauce and the pot of boiling water.

When the pasta is ready and the water is at a rolling boil, pick up the kitchen towel and carefully pour the fresh pasta into the water. It will only take a few minutes to cook and the pieces of pasta will float to the top. Check that they are perfectly al dente and by using a wide spider or sieve, pull the pasta from the water and place right into your pot with the sauce. Softly stir everything together while making sure not to move the pasta around too harshly. Remove the chili pepper before serving and garnish the dishes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs. Serve right away, pasta waits for no one.

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.