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Cover: Mamma Mia!

17May 12

Prawn and Courgette Tagliatelli

Here’s another simple and delicious pasta meal that takes almost no time to prepare, this time featuring the humble prawn as the star ingredient. You could use any prawns really, but king prawns are ideal, as they’re bigger, chunkier, and have the flavour to stand up against the chilli and garlic. For the pasta you could substitute spaghetti, vermicelli, linguine, tagliolini, or any other long, thin pasta or noodle. (Also try this tagliatelle with salmon pasta dish.) As for an accompanying salad, we like watercress on its own, perhaps drizzled with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s peppery, and fresh, exactly like the pasta dish. An ideal wine would be a clean, crisp dry white, like a Pinot Grigio. And maybe some soft, crusty white bread would come in handy, to soak up the juices and clean down your plate? If you decide to grate the courgette, I recommend […]

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02Oct 12

Italian Classics – Affogato

Whilst there’s really very little to preparing this exquisitely simple ice cream and coffee dessert; it’s one that I absolutely must share with you. The Italian classic –Affogato, is ridiculously easy to make and holds the essence of Italian intensity in its heart. You can taste the love in lots of simple Italian recipes, and this is no exception. Strong mocha coffee is poured over vanilla ice cream, drowning it (as the translation of affogato suggests) and melting it under intense aromas. It’s a fabulous summer pick up in the afternoons, or as a refreshing dessert. Serve and enjoy it whilst the coffee is warm for a gorgeous combination of heat and ice, light and dark, bitter and sweet. You can make mocha coffee, keep the coffee pure, or add a generous splash of amaretto liqueur for an extra lick of Italian love.  If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could […]

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12Sep 12

Beef Canneloni

  There are a million ways you can make canneloni. The combination of fillings and sauces are up to your imagination! My mum used to cook up a beef canneloni with a tomato filling, and so I followed suit. Of course I experiment with other possibilities, but I consider this the classic recipe. Some people use the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking pan, placing the canneloni on top of the passata and then smothering it with cheese. Others place the canneloni in first and then pour the tomato on top. My personal preference is combining the two and using both as filling, while drizzling over a delicious buttery cheese sauce. And if you really like cheese, you could sprinkle some extra on top afterwards! Canneloni is a bit like lasagne: there are a million options for combinations, and the ingredients are made separately and then combined in […]

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31Aug 12

Veal Milanese

These pan-fried veal escalopes splashed with lemon are mouth-wateringly good. Veal Milanese reminds me of authentic trattoria cuisine from when I was a child growing up. The escalopes are best served with a small portion of spaghetti and a fresh Pomodoro sauce, or sautéed potatoes and salad. If you are having a dinner party and stuck for time or inspiration, then Veal Milanese is a simple dish. It won’t cause a sweat in the kitchen, but will definitely impress your friends. If you don’t like the idea of cooking veal, then you can use an alternative such as chicken or pork, but really veal is the authentic ingredient and definitely the most delicious meat for this recipe. If you do enjoy veal, then you could also try Brian Turner’s rib of rose veal with honey and soy glaze. Print Veal Milanese Author: Gianluca Dievole Recipe type: Main Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  […]

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29Aug 12

Fried Calamari

  Fried Calamari is a must-know for any aspiring Italian chef. I often serve mine alongside home-made chips, taking advantage of the already heated and ready-to-go deep fryer. Besides, that combination sort of gives a nod to the British classic fish and chips. You may have noticed that most seafood platters are served with lemon wedges, which is interesting to me. The combination of the citric fruit and fish comes from the olden days when it was more difficult to keep fish fresh for a long time. As there wasn’t ice in those days, the product often developed an unpleasant odor after being stored or transported to a nearby city, the journey often taking a few days. Lemon was used to combat the smell of the less-than-fresh seafood. Others say that it was used like salt to help preserve the quality of the nutrients and avoid any bacterial problems. But […]

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22Aug 12

Veal Parmesan

This recipe is a hearty favourite of mine. Pasta itself is filling, but with the breaded red meat and strong cheese, I recommend that you make this only when famished! This is more of a lunch item as well. My wife and I prefer the Mediterranean diet, so we normally eat a substantial lunch and a lighter dinner. Eating a heavier lunch gives us the energy we need and allows time for proper digestion. I lent this recipe to a friend of mine who wanted to show off his  culinary skills. He proudly served it as dinner to his family. Later, his wife confided to us that although it was tasty, their young son suffered from fairly vivid nightmares all night. We all know that there are a number of things that can affect your dreams, but my personal suspicion is that it was the heavy meal right before bedtime. […]

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14Aug 12

Pumpkin and Sage Crisp Risotto

The delicious sweetness of ripe pumpkin combines deliciously with the crispy sage and Parmesan cheese to create this sublime dish from Northern Italy. Pumpkin and Sage Crisp Risotto is simple to prepare, and wonderfully filling, so you don’t need to think about side dishes. If you can’t find fresh sage leaves, you can mix dried sage into the rice mixture. It’s not the same, but it still gives you the aromatic flavour that enhances the traditional pumpkin risotto. Other fantastic rice meals include this delicious asparagus risotto and my tempting game Pigeon Risotto. As an accompaniment, I recommend a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, served ice cold. Print Pumpkin and Sage Crisp Risotto Author: Gianluca Dievole Recipe type: Main Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  30 mins Total time:  40 mins Serves: 2   The sweetness of the pumpkin combined with aromatic sage is divine. Ingredients 400g ripe pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes […]

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07Aug 12

Aubergine Parmigiana

Aubergine Parmigiana or La Parmigiana Melanzane originates from the beautiful coastal province of Puglia, set in the heel of Italy. It’s a great way to serve up aubergines, layering them with tomato and cheese, almost like the classic lasagne, minus the pasta. Serve with fresh garlic bread and a rocket salad. Perfect accompanied with a classic northern Italian red wine, such as Villa Casetta – Barbera d’Alba. Divino! Print Aubergine Parmigiana Recipe type: Main Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  1 hour Total time:  1 hour 10 mins Serves: 2   A delicious, warming aubergine dish layered with cheese and tomato Ingredients olive oil 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes, or 500g of fresh ripe tomatoes 1 cinnamon stick 4-5 leaves of shredded basil 2 medium aubergines 1 ball Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced Splash of wine vinegar Handful of Parmesan cheese […]

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30Jul 12

Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta

Among our repertoire of appetisers, starters, and snacks, is roasted red pepper bruschetta. We’ve been known to whip some up for a light supper, or to accompany a light salad or soup, like this rich and tasty watercress soup. The red pepper is such an evocative taste of the Mediterranean for me. I remember the smell on the nights my mum flame-roasted them on a small fire, blackening them before peeling off the skin, rinsing and deseeding them, and then adding them to salads, pastas and of course bruschetta too.  For more toasty bread and salad sensations, try this warm chicken salad with garlic and tomato bread. Mama would also store them in jars to add wonderful flavour into other recipes. If you have the option of flame-roasting your peppers, I would certainly recommend it for this roasted red pepper bruschetta. If you have a gas hob, you can roast […]

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30Jul 12

Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi are light potato dumplings which were my grandmother’s specialty, a typical Sunday lunch at her table. They are an Italian tradition, differing in ingredients and form according to the region. You can serve it up with different sauces; Pomodoro, Pesto and Gorgonzola are three classics. Gnocchi is a versatile dish, and to get it perfect requires practice and a little patience, as they should be light and delicate rather than heavy and rubbery. But when you get it right, Mamma, are they good! If you like Gnocchi you could also try my Baked Dolcelatte and Broccoli recipe. Print Potato Gnocchi Author: Gianluca Dievole Recipe type: Main Prep time:  25 mins Cook time:  10 mins Total time:  35 mins Serves: 2   Light potato dumplings, gnocchi is a typical winter Sunday lunch dish in Italy. Ingredients 400g Floury potatoes – Maris Pipers or Desiree are good options. Try to pick the same […]

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27Jul 12

Taleggio, Ham and Sage Gnocchi

Gnocchi are basically a kind of small, soft dumpling, which can be made from a variety of ingredients, including flour, semolina and potato, or numerous other combinations. Recently a friend of ours cooked us gnocchi made with chestnut flour, which was new to us, and very delicious. I’d like to try it myself some time soon. If and when I do, I’ll post it here. Taleggio is a soft cheese named for the beautiful Val Taleggio in Lombardy. It is what is called ‘washed rind’ and ‘smear-ripened’. These terms refer to the maturation processes, and the result in this case is a pungent-smelling but pretty mild-tasting cheese, ideal for melting in dishes such as this. Last time we ate this, we had one of our favourite super simple salads with it, consisting merely of watercress with Parmesan shavings, lightly drizzled in olive oil, with a slug of balsamic vinegar and […]

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About Gianluca Dievole

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About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.