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Mushroom risotto made with dried, rehydrated porcini and masses of Parmesan and butter is a royal feast. I love it just with a green salad.
Orange flavoured ciambella with dark chocolate glaze is Italian ring-shaped breakfast cake. This one is made without butter but with olive oil; serve it for an indulgent breakfast or for dessert.
Osso buco - shin of veal, slow cooked with porcini and tomato sauce. The shin of veal is a delicious cut, actually much better than a lamb shank, equally cheap, cooks all by itself and is a joy to eat – just leave the marrow to me.
Oven baked arancini made with leftover mushroom risotto, filled with prosciutto and mozzarella. It’s the starter you wish was a main. It’s the leftovers dish that’s better than the original.
Pandoro, Italian festive 'golden bread', the sweet buttery panettone's rival. Come on, Italians - just have both. I’m having both this year, although my pandoro is baked in a panettone tin - and my recipe is a somewhat hacked version of an Italian one.
Panettone - classic Italian Christmas sweet bread. Yes – it’s doable. A word of warning though: it’s a fickle, capricious beast in the truly Italian style, la donna è mobile and so is panettone.
Classic creamy panna cotta, the simple and exquisite Italian dessert. Vanilla flavoured, with whole milk and cream and only enough gelatine to keep it in the cup, served with passion fruit puree.
Panpepato, Italian classic Christmas dessert from the province of Siena, is the ancient version of panforte di Siena, Italian biscuits packed with fruit and nuts. Panpepato is spicy, peppery and very chocolatey.
Pappardelle with chanterelles, the simplest pasta dish with the sunny wild mushrooms also known as girolles. A little butter, a little Parmesan and it’s an autumnal feast.
Pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil. I love fresh tomatoes with good quality pasta. The question whether you should buy ’fresh’ supermarket pasta is a moot point – buy dry. Good.
Pasta fritta, fried pasta with asparagus, garlic and mint; the best thing to do with leftover pasta. Any pasta shape can be made into pasta fritta without eggs, or frittata pasta – with eggs mixed in.
Pasta with crispy capers, bacon and breadcrumbs or pappardelle con pangrattato. Breadcrumbs are an age-old pasta dressing, poor man’s Parmesan. Textures are great here; everything is crispy and crunchy and salty
Pasta with asparagus and lemon butter, served with lots of Parmesan. Three tricks pasta and I’m pleased to announce that this is truly a pasta template, versatile as anything. I give you the pasta with lemon and any veg, plus Parmesan because pasta can’t be without it.
Pasta with red and yellow peppers cooked down to sweet and silky sauce, also known as pasta peperonata. Who needs tomatoes?
Italian style pear tart with an easy sponge base, soft yoghurt filling and pear, cinnamon and almond topping. A cross between a pear tart and a pear cake.
Leek and mushroom penne pasta bake with mascarpone and mozzarella. It's easy, it's cheesy; it's veggie, it's crispy - it's an ultimate comfort pasta bake.
Penne pasta with chanterelles and pied-de-moutons, and plenty of parmesan. A very simple dish – good ingredients don’t need elaborate processing, and fresh wild mushrooms are as good as it gets.
Classic pesto is made from basil, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. Easy to make at home and more versatile than you'd think.
Pizza bianca, traditional Roman flat bread, with prosciutto crudo and provolone cheese. There are some very complicated instructions as to make the bianca dough but I figured that Romans wouldn’t bother to make special dough, separate to the rounds and rounds of pizza that the forni di Roma churn out.
Polenta chips baked in the oven to a golden crisp, cooked from scratch with Parmesan and chives, and so much better than potato chips.
Porchetta, classic Italian pork roast, prepared with the easiest cut to handle: pork collar, also sold as neck or shoulder. Served usually cold in bread rolls, it is also gorgeous as a roast.
Neapolitan pork braciole in tomato sauce, authentic and classic Italian Sunday lunch dish of stuffed pork roulades braised in tomato sauce.
Pork parmigiana - Italian pork schnitzel baked in tomato sauce with mozzarrella and Parmesan. A.k.a. pork parmesan is the best possible dish to use pork tenderloin in!
Prawn pasta bake with frozen prawns and a handful of spinach. I seem to be cooking just one pasta dish all the time: boil the noodles, throw a handful of greenery into the boiling water by the end, drain the lot and stir in some cheese/sauce/butter.
Provolone pasta bake with homemade tomato marinara sauce. The best vegetarian pasta casserole recipe, with the tastiest sauce; topped with provolone which is the best melting cheese for pasta al forno dishes.
Italian beef ragu; pasta sauce with beef and pork mince, soffrito and tomato sauce. The amount of about 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce per person gives the perfect balance between Italian sparsity and British overload.
Ricciarelli, almond shaped and almond flavoured biscuits from Siena, traditionally made and gifted for Christmas. An authentic recipe for these delightful marzipan sweets.
Plain focaccia with rosemary and salt flakes; easy to make, divine to eat, warm or cold. Authentic Ligurian recipe from Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat.
Scaloppine al vino bianco, veal escalope in white wine sauce is fit for the smartest dinner party. It’s the dish that illustrates the expression ‘easy fine cooking’!
Schiacciata con l'uva (pronounced ‘ski-a-charter’ and meaning 'squashed'), Tuscan grape focaccia is a sweet version of the flat bread, with grapes and raisins.
Sfogliatelle are Italian flaky pastries from Naples with creamy ricotta filling, pronounced 'sfohl-ya-TEL-leh'. Sometimes called 'lobster tails', easy to guess why.
Sicilian pistachio cookies, Italian macarons made with ground pistachios. These are delicious, meltingly soft pistachio cookies made from just three base ingredients.
Sicilian-style pizza cooked in a pan, with thicker, airy base and topping of caramelised onions and tomato sauce. Traditionally square, but a square pan is hard to come by!
Spelt risotto with pearled spelt grain and dried porcini mushrooms is a gorgeous vegetarian dish: wholesome, flavoursome and effortless.
Spinach and ricotta lasagne with cooked cream instead of bechamel. Lasagne is the best pasta. It took me a while to work out that ‘lasagne’ is actually used in the same grammatical fashion as ‘tagliatelle’ or spaghetti’ – it means the type of pasta in the plural.
Spongata di natale, Italian honey and nut Christmas cake is like an oversized mince pie, with shortcrust pastry case and filling of dried or candied fruit, and mixed nuts.
Aubergine and tomato pasta bake with mozzarella. Pasta - fusilli. Tomato sauce - from scratch. Aubergine - lightly fried. A great vegetarian pasta al forno.
Tomato crostata with honey and thyme flavour on flaky pastry made from scratch, with a sneaky cheese addition. Crostata or galette is a sweet or savoury open, rustic pie.
Tomato and cheese scaccia, Sicilian flatbread filled and folded, is as much fun to make as delicious it is to eat. See the video showing how to fold thinly rolled out pizza dough.
Traditional lasagne with ragù sauce and white béchamel sauce, between four layers of dried pasta sheets. Make sure you make a batch for the freezer!
Traditional panettone made on sourdough starter known as lievito madre or pasta madre in Italian. Step-by-step recipe for classic panettone with gorgeous sugar glaze.
Courgette, aubergine, fennel and mushroom parmigiana with chopped tomatoes and Parmesan. This is a mixed vegetable parmigiana, with lots of Parmesan on layers of pre-cooked veg.
Watermelon granita with no added sugar makes a fantastic dessert when served with a scoop of ice cream. Plus, instructions how to cube a watermelon.
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