I absolutely love Italy, I just can’t get enough of it. This is about getting right to the heart of the Italian kitchen and, frankly, celebrating the utter joy of great Italian food. What an absolute pleasure.
In Italy, one thing that remains wonderfully consistent is that everyone is incredibly passionate about food. It has always been openly celebrated as being for everyone, and put at the heart of all that Italians do. Importantly, no matter how rich or poor, most Italians eat very well indeed – simple, beautiful, achievable food is standard. Adopting the Italian attitude – an undeniable obsession with seasonal ingredients, a frugal approach to shopping, straightforward common sense cooking and a little of the magic stuff, love – will serve you well on the path to cooking some of the most spectacular meals to enjoy with family and friends.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Italy many times over the last 25 years, and during that period I’ve seen, learnt, tasted and quaffed many wonderful things. But I’ve also noticed a shift in Italian food culture. The time-honoured traditions and recipes of the true matriarchs of the kitchen, the nonnas and mammas who are the beating heart of the Italian home, are at risk of being lost. The incredible heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation is dying out as time passes, lives get busier and technology makes it easier to cut corners. With that in mind, I want to show you just how easy cooking great Italian food can be.
So, over the last two years, I’ve been back travelling around Italy, where there’s always so much to discover, meeting nonnas and mammas, many of whom have been cooking for well over 50 years. I’ve had the honour of cooking with these wonderful women, and learning some of their secrets. Everyone I met on this journey wanted to share their much-treasured recipes and advice with me so that, in turn, I could pass it all on to you and keep their traditions alive.