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 & 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…

San Marino Bustrengo, a Fresh Apple, Fig and Polenta Cake

Bustrengo is a traditional Italian dessert originating from the humbly named ‘The Most Serene Republic of San Marino’, one of the world’s smallest and oldest republics which, though not technically part of Italy, is surrounded by Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche regions near the Adriatic Sea making it an easy day trip from Florence and Bologna. It’s…

Quartieri Spagnoli Aubergine Parmigiana (Melanzane alla Parmigiana)

Deep in the heart of of the Quartieri Spagnoli – the Spanish Quarter – in the centre of Naples sits a tiny family-run restaurant called Hosteria Toledo. It’s one of our favourites and our go-to place when we arrive in (and leave) this glorious chaotic city. The family are justifiably proud of their long-held faith in…