Pizza Bianco with Lemony Courgette Ribbons, Dolcelatte and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Just an hour’s drive away from Assisi sits Cortona, a charming walled town in the Valdichiana Valley in southern Tuscany. After exploring its shady Medieval vicolos, inspiring artisan food stores and the beautiful duomo, we settled at the street-side table of a tiny local pizzeria. There we slowly sipped delicate glasses of an ice cold Italian rosato whilst we chatted over the…

Sicilian Peperonata with Lemon-infused Labneh

A lovingly nurtured peperonata – a classic Italian stew of red and yellow peppers, onions and plum tomatoes – is not only a thing of beauty, it’s incredibly versatile. I use it as a salad in the summer; a warming stew in the winter; as a topping on a crispy pizza or bruschetta; stirred into…

Ligurian Basil Gnocchi with Broccoli, Spinach and Creamy Cheesy Sauce

This beautiful dish is perfect for these early autumn days because, although it’s comforting, it is ultimately still light and delicious. The recipe is a little more complicated than you’re used to from me but it all comes together quite quickly in the end. If you don’t fancy making the gnocchi, you can always replace them with large white beans or thinly sliced cooked…

Umbrian Farro Pilaf with Fennel, Roasted Grapes and Mozzarella

Although my focus is on Mediterranean cuisine, I am passionately interested in the food of any culture that believes in simple seasonal cooking. That said, I’m definitely not a fan of the meaty, carb-loaded cuisine of Eastern Europe from whence I have just returned. HOWEVER, in Bratislava, I can see a truly exciting change in the way…

Livorno Cannellini Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Salata Salad

On a recent trip to Tuscany, I was astonished to discover that the covered markets in both Lucca and Pisa had been closed down. It seems that even the Italians are succumbing to pre-prepared food that can be grabbed on the go. Indeed, one man I spoke to who reminisced fondly about the dishes his…

Sicilian Pea and Ricotta Salata Bruschetta

The word ‘ricotta’ means re-cooked and ‘salata’ means salted. Ricotta Salata is a Sicilian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in colour with firm texture and a refreshingly salty taste (similar to Cheshire cheese). It’s great for slicing, crumbling and…

Paulo’s Creamy Cannellini Bean Dip with Parsley and Sicilian Lemon

‘Shopping at the Dandelion Co-op made me feel European. Very Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina in Paris. River picked out goat cheese to spread on crispy-crusted French bread for the picnic, and olives, and a jar of roasted red peppers, and a bar of seventy percent dark chocolate, and a bottle of sparkling water. He bought…

Tuscan Cecina, a Chickpea Flour Pancake with Rosemary

It always amazes me that, having eaten breakfast in England, we can be enjoying lunch – well, a late one at least – in Italy looking up to the sun and taking in the aromas of the streets. Jasmine flowers and linden trees fighting for our olfactory attention against smokey Vespas, sexy patisserie, melting chocolate,…

Neapolitan Roast Potato Puttanesca Salad

Naples is everything that you want it to be: imagine crumbling walls plastered with dusty images of Maradona and Sophia Lauren juxtaposed with billowing lines of washing. Everything is slightly chaotic and the air is thick with the aromas of sea, baking bread, melting cheese, ripe peaches, church incense and Vespas. Neapolitan cuisine matches the…