Noodles and chickpeas

Noodles and chickpeas

Pasta e ceci (lagane e tria)

Laura Edwards

The first-century BC Roman poet Cato wrote in his Sermones that he was going home to have a meal of leeks and chickpeas mixed with what he called laganum. This was a basic pasta, probably cut into long lengths. To this day, in Puglia and elsewhere in the south, ciceri or lagane e tria, a soup of chickpeas, pasta (usually tagliatelle) and other vegetables (including potato!), is a popular speciality.


Quantity Ingredient
200g dried chickpeas
or 2 x 400g tins of cooked chickpeas
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
150g fatty prosciutto, chopped into chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into small pieces
300g very large pappardelle
1 tablespoons black peppercorns


  1. By using ready-cooked chickpeas from a tin, you avoid the lengthy business of soaking the chickpeas overnight and then boiling for hours. I tried it both ways, and there wasn’t much difference. But if you want to do it properly, soak the dried chickpeas overnight in plenty of water, with some bicarbonate of soda, which helps soften the skins. Drain and cook in fresh water, on a medium heat, for 3 hours. Drain well.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic and prosciutto and fry briefly. Add the potatoes and celery and about 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil and cook until the potato cubes are soft.
  3. Add the pasta, salt to taste and the peppercorns, and cook until the pasta is to your taste (al dente, but not too much). Serve hot.
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