Main Course

When it comes to an authentic, traditional meal, the classic Italian experience is second to none, and at the centrepiece of every Italian meal is the main course, or secondi.

There are so many Italian main course recipes to choose from and dozens of regional variations, from fantastico fish recipes, to wonderful beef, chicken and beyond.

Here you will find delicious recipes ranging from Baked Salmon with a Pistachio, Honey and Herb Crust, to Baked Mushrooms Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Pecorino.

Buon Appetito!

Main Course

Melanzane piccanti al fornoSpicy Roasted Aubergines

Although grown and treated as a vegetable, the aubergine is in fact a fruit, as it bears seeds within its flesh. When an aubergine is cooked correctly it’s simply delicious and happily soaks up any flavour you pair with it. This dish, in which the aubergine is the star, can be served as a meat-free main course or as a side dish; it’s particularly good with lamb. Make sure you brush the aubergine...

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Serves

Extracted from Gino's Italian Adriatic Escape: A taste of Italy from Veneto to Puglia by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 18th October 2018. Photography credit – Dan Jones, Holly Bryson & Trevor Butterfield

Costata di manzo al forno con aglio ed erbeRoasted Rib of Beef with Garlic and Herbs

Some of the best Italian beef is farmed in the southeastern region of Marche. The cattle are allowed to roam free, and the meat from Marchigiana cattle is appreciated all over the country. Rib of beef is perfect for a special occasion; it’s so delicious that it really doesn’t need a lot doing to it. Serve with Creamy potato and fennel bake (see page 179) and enjoy with a glass of Italian red wine.

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Adriatic Escape: A taste of Italy from Veneto to Puglia by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 18th October 2018. Photography credit – Dan Jones, Holly Bryson & Trevor Butterfield

Tranci di pesce spada con patate saltate e gremolataSwordfish Steaks and Sautéed Potatoes with Gremolata

I cooked this dish overlooking the beach at Pescoluse, on the Puglian coast. It’s known as the Maldives of Salento and is a hidden paradise. I used swordfish, but tuna would work well too. Gremolata is a dressing of raw chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest. It is usually sprinkled over meats, such as osso bucco or carpaccio, but it also makes a great garnish for grilled fish. Always make sure you...

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Adriatic Escape: A taste of Italy from Veneto to Puglia by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 18th October 2018. Photography credit – Dan Jones, Holly Bryson & Trevor Butterfield

SPEZZATINO DI VERDURE CON UOVA Eggs Poached in Mediterranean Vegetable Ragù

Throughout the Mediterranean, including North Africa and the Middle East, there are variations on the theme of eggs poached or baked in a tomato sauce. I like to include a variety of Mediterranean vegetables, as well as borlotti beans, to make it more substantial. This is a delicious, colourful dish for brunch, lunch or a light supper, and what’s more it’s all cooked in one pan, so very little...

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Express by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 31st October 2019. Photography credit – Dan Jones

POLLO COTTO IN BIRRA E PANCETTA Chicken and Pancetta Cooked in Beer

Whenever I cook this chicken recipe it always reminds me of Cecilia, a wonderful lady I met in Florence. She is a member of Le Cesarine, the network of home cooks who open their doors to the public. Guests pay to have an authentic dining experience in a local’s home, and the host shares their recipes with the aim of keeping traditional Italian cooking alive. I took part in one of these evenings and...

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Express by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 31st October 2019. Photography credit – Dan Jones

TONNO IN CROSTA D’AGLIO, LIMONE, ERBA CIPOLLINA E PEPERONCINO Tuna Steaks in a Garlic, Lemon, Chive and Chilli Crust

When I was filming in Pisa I saw this dish in many restaurants, so out of curiosity I had to try it. It was really delicious and fresh-tasting, and I loved the contrast of textures between the crisp crust and the tuna steak. The people of Pisa are, quite rightly, very proud of this dish, so I decided to share the recipe with you all. Serve with a crispy salad and enjoy!

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Express by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 31st October 2019. Photography credit – Dan Jones

ZUCCHINE AL FORNO CON MOZZARELLA E PARMIGIANOBaked Courgettes with Mozzarella & Parmesan

This dish is extremely popular on the west coast of Italy, where it is often served as an accompaniment to chargrilled fish. The tomato sauce can be made ahead and the whole dish assembled several hours ahead of cooking. Just add on an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time if it’s being cooked from cold. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Coastal Escape: A Taste of Italy from the Aeolian Islands to Elba by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 19th October 2017. Photography credit – Dan Jones and Matt Russell

COSTOLETTE D’AGNELLO IN CROSTA DI SENAPE ED ERBEHerb & Mustard-crusted Rack of Lamb

Lamb is eaten mainly in central and southern Italy, although roasted young spring lamb is traditional throughout the country at Easter. Later in the year, a rack of lamb makes a wonderful dish for a special occasion. Cooking the lamb on the bone and coating it in a herb crust keeps the meat really moist and succulent. Serve with roasted baby new potatoes and green beans.

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Extracted from Gino's Italian Coastal Escape: A Taste of Italy from the Aeolian Islands to Elba by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 19th October 2017. Photography credit – Dan Jones and Matt Russell

ORATA ALLA CAPRESECapri-style Pan-fried Sea Bream

Simple yet so full of flavour, this is a classic dish from Capri, a beautiful island off the Sorrentine peninsula. Gilthead sea bream is a firm white fish that is extremely popular along Italy's Mediterranean coast. The British equivalent, black bream, has a very short season and is usually available only in late spring, so in Britain you're more likely to find imported gilthead bream. Sea bass, which...

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Serves

Extracted from Gino's Italian Coastal Escape: A Taste of Italy from the Aeolian Islands to Elba by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 19th October 2017. Photography credit – Dan Jones and Matt Russell

Funghi al forno ripieni di gorgonzola e pecorinoBaked Mushrooms Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Pecorino

Portobello mushrooms have a robust, meaty texture making them excellent for roasting, baking and stuffing. Available year round, they are simply the larger, more mature form of the common cultivated white or chestnut mushroom. I’ve used Gorgonzola dolce here – a sweeter, milder version of Gorgonzola from Lombardy and Piedmont – but any blue cheese would be fine, and Parmesan is the best substitute...

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Extracted from Gino's Hidden Italy : How to Cook Like a True Italian by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 6th October 2016. Photography credit – Matt Russell, Hal Shinnie and Dan Jones

Bollito di carneAromatic Meat Stew with Red Wine, Cloves and Juniper Berries

Bollito di carne is a classic northern Italian dish, typically from Piedmont. Hearty, rich and satisfying, it always includes several different types of meat – the kinds used vary depending on availability and the preference of the cook. For this recipe I decided to use duck, pork and chicken, as recommended to me by a butcher in one of the markets I visited when filming in Piedmont. Serve with plenty...

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Extracted from Gino's Hidden Italy : How to Cook Like a True Italian by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 6th October 2016. Photography credit – Matt Russell, Hal Shinnie and Dan Jones

Salmone in crosta di erbe, miele e pistacchiBaked Salmon with a Pistachio, Honey and Herb Crust

My grandmother, Nonna Flora, used to make this dish every Christmas and for other special occasions; otherwise, we rarely ate salmon and it was a real treat. The pistachios – a Sicilian touch – give great flavour and a nutty texture, and help to keep the fish moist. I have also tried this recipe with cod and it works perfectly. Serve with lemon wedges and Artichokes Braised in Wine (see page 151).

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Extracted from Gino's Hidden Italy : How to Cook Like a True Italian by Gino D’Acampo (published by Hodder & Stoughton) on 6th October 2016. Photography credit – Matt Russell, Hal Shinnie and Dan Jones