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…

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…

Turkish Carrot & Garlic Yoghurt Salad with Carrot Greens & Pistachio Pesto

The stories that I tell are inspired by a lifetime spent travelling around the countries that kiss the coasts of the Mediterranean sea; by every restaurant and cafe I’ve had the pleasure of kicking back in; by the bustling markets, glittering delicatessens and traditional food stores that have sparked new ideas; by the forgotten recipes I…

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…

Umbrian Rocket & Walnut Pesto

‘When we first started cooking, dishes like lasagne and cannelloni were treated with suspicion. Few people knew what to expect. Thirty years ago these dishes were virtually unknown to the British population; only a few who had travelled to Italy had tried them. These dishes always had to be described in great detail before people…

Italian Spinach & Ricotta Malfatti with Sage & Lemon Butter

The word ‘malfatti’ in Italian literally translates to ‘badly made’ which is crazy really because these gorgeous little dumplings from Brescia in Lombardia are a thing of beauty being much more colourful and lighter than the traditional gnocchi you may be more familiar with. I like to eat these throughout the year but they’re especially…

Umbrian Asparagus with Balsamic and Caper Dressing

Umbria is often referred to as the ‘green heart of Italy’ on account of its verdant, rolling hills dotted with ancient hill towns such as Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto, Spoleto, Todi, Spello and Gubbio, all of them quietly embraced by ancient vineyards and olive groves. Here, Spring heralds the arrival of the wild asparagus season, a time…

500 Cortona Fiorentina Pizza

A couple of summers ago, we drove to Tuscany for lunch. It was our first visit to this much-lauded region, beloved of the English; we prefer Umbria for its peacefulness, superb full-bodied wines, piquant, earthy olive oil, and its hill-top villages, ancient and fascinating. However, just an hour’s drive away from our base in Assisi is Cortona,…

Umbrian Wild Garlic Pesto

A classic Italian pesto is a great thing simply because it’s so versatile, adding a herby kick to all sorts of things including pasta, freshly baked pizza, soups and bruschetta. I make it in huge batches and freeze it so I’ve always got a tasty back up for busy days. This version is made with the wild…

Tuscan Borlotti Bean and Vegetable Soup

Our favourite time to visit Italy is during late Spring just before the searing heat of the summer. Not that I’m averse to sitting in shady cloisters with an icy beer, it’s just that we can do so much more when we’re not overcome with the heat. Even in the summer though, the clouds above Assisi gather…