A celebration of Italian food … Jamie Cooks Italy is an absolute joy. With stories and wonderful photos of nonnas tucked between recipes for dishes like Oozy Risotto Balls and Rafanata and Chickpea Fritters and Grilled Apricot Salad and amazing Forager’s Chicken, as well as old favourites like Classic Carbonara and Limoncello Tiramisu (all with a Jamie twist), you’ll dip into this book again and again. A mix of fast and slow cooking – some for quick midweek meals, others for labour-of-love choices for weekend entertaining – it’s fabulous. Michael Joseph, R430.
Delizioso pasta at home
We’re passionate about our pasta. An essential part of the healthy Mediterranean diet, there are just so many varieties from which to choose – each with its origins in different Italian regions. Traditionally long cut pastas (think spaghetti, linguine and tagliatelle) are ideal for soaking up light olive oil or tomato-based sauces as well as a heartier Bolognese sauce, while short cut pasta (penne or shell-shaped pasta) are better for capturing chunkier sauces like hand-cut beef ragu or vegetables. Pasta dishes (provided they’re not loaded with cream) are healthy, too. If it’s made from durum wheat semolina and is cooked al dente, the pasta has a lower glycaemic index (GI) than other starches … and helps to regulate your blood sugars. In Italy, the golden rule for cooking pasta is 1:10:100 … one litre of water, 10g of salt and 100g of pasta. The cooking time will depend on the cut and shape of the pasta … but remember you must cook it al dente (slightly resistant to the bite). Our fave? Barilla. It’s been the cornerstone of Italian cuisine for more than 140 years, so who are we to argue? You’ll find Barilla pasta and sauces in good supermarkets. Buon appetito!
Wine with Italian flair … this Steenberg Nebbiolo is all sour cherries, raspberries and hibiscus tea … it’s a brilliant, garnet red wine with tart acidity, which stands up well to rich, hearty Italian dishes. Cellar door price is R277. Details: steenbergfarm.com.