Italian Starter Recipes

Pasta is to Italy as fish and chips is to Britain! There are literally thousands of Italian pasta recipes, so where do you start? There are healthy Italian pasta recipes, quick Italian pasta recipes, classic Italian pasta recipes and recipes that have Gino’s unique twist!

Whether you want to make your own pasta dough or you’re choosing from dozens of different types of pasta, there’s a pasta shape to complement every pasta recipe! In fact, there are over 600 forms known by an incredible 1,300 names.

The beauty of making real Italian pizza is that it’s so easy to do! Make the base, top it with one of Gino’s Italian pizza sauce recipes and then add vegetables, meat, more cheese, fish – whatever you like! The sky’s the limit.

Risotto is a very versatile and easy meal to make. It’s a fantastic one-pot dish and you can have dinner on the table within 30 – 40 minutes. Yes, you do have to stay by your pan stirring – but with a glass of wine, this will become a pleasure rather than a chore.

Buon Appetito!

Pasta, Pizza & Risotto

SPAGHETTI VONGOLESPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS & MUSSELS

As a young man I often used to go to the pretty port town of Castellammare, near Naples, to eat platefuls of their famous mussels. When I found myself there again recently, filming Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape, I couldn’t resist making the classic dish of the region – the chilli-spiked spaghetti vongole. Traditionally, spaghetti vongole contains just clams, but as I was in Castellammare, of...

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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

Pizza con mozzarella, acciughe, olive e salviaMozzarella, Anchovy, Olive and Sage Pizza

The Adriatic coast is not as well known for its pizza as some other regions in Italy, but you can still find great pizzerias. Like any true Neapolitan, I’m always on the lookout for great pizza and after a day’s filming I enjoy nothing more than relaxing with a slice of pizza in one hand and a beer in the other. The pizza always has anchovies and the beer is always Italian.

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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

Paccheri ai quattro formaggiPaccheri with Four Cheeses

Originating from Campania and Calabria, paccheri is a popular pasta shape in the region of Marche. When filming there I made this dish using a selection of delicious cheeses. This is a tasty and filling meal that’s really easy to make – it’s my version of a posh macaroni cheese! If you can’t find paccheri you can use large rigatoni for this recipe. If scamorza is unavailable, use a mixture...

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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

PIZZA GORGONZOL A E PROSCIUTTO CRUDO Gorgonzola and Parma Ham Pizza

Gorgonzola and Parma ham both originate in northern Italy and make a great combination. I often prepare this pizza for my boys, and sometimes we ring the changes by using cooked ham or salami instead of Parma ham. Make sure you preheat the oven to the correct temperature before putting in the pizza, or the dough will be soggy and not cook properly.

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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

PENNETTE UOVA E PANCETTAPenne with Eggs and Pancetta

People often ask me what my favourite pasta dish is, and this must be among my Top Ten ... salty, crisp pancetta with eggs and pecorino cheese – it’s a match made in heaven. It’s really important to take the saucepan off the heat when you pour over the egg mixture, otherwise you’ll end up with overcooked eggs and sticky pasta. The heat from the pasta and pancetta will be enough to cook the...

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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

PIZZA MARGHERITANeapolitan Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Basil

Pizza originated in Naples and it’s where the best, most authentic pizza can still be found today – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Neapolitan! Apparently this topping was created in the 19th century to honour the visit of Queen Margherita to Naples, as it represented the colours of the Italian flag – red, white and green. Try to use buffalo (rather than cow’s milk) mozzarella...

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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

RISOTTO CON POLLO, PESTO ROSSO E ROSMARINOChicken Risotto with Red Pesto & Rosemary

Risotto is the ultimate comfort food, and it’s so versatile and quick to make. For this recipe I’ve used chicken breast, but you can also use cooked chicken left over from a roast – just stir it in as you add the last ladleful of stock. Red pesto is a southern Italian variation of the northern Italian basil pesto – the colour comes from sun-dried tomatoes or red peppers and the sauce adds depth...

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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

FETTUCCINE AL RAGÙ NAPOLETANOFettuccine with Neapolitan RAGÙ

This Neapolitan ragù recipe has been in my family for over 40 years and my mother has never changed a single ingredient. It works to perfection, and the great thing is that you can prepare the sauce a day ahead and it will taste even better the day after. The meat should be crumbly and as soft as butter. Feel free to use rump steak if you prefer, as fillet steak can be expensive.

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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

Risotto ai frutti di mare con aglio e peperoncinoSeafood Risotto with Garlic and a hint of Chilli

Risotto ai frutti di mare is a classic northern Italian dish and some recipes contain four or five different types of seafood. Here I’ve added a little chilli for extra kick. Please don’t add cheese as it ‘fights’ with the seafood.

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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

Risotto primavera alle verdure di stagioneAsparagus, Broad Bean, Pea and Leek Risotto

For me, this wonderful risotto signals the end of spring and the start of summer. If using older beans it's best to remove their skins after boiling as they can be tough. You can use frozen broad beans and peas if you prefer.

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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

Spaghetti alla chitarra con pomodori freschi, aglio, peperoncino e rucolaSpaghetti Alla Chitarra with Fresh Tomatoes, Garlic, Chilli and Rocket

When I was in Pescara – the main city in the Abruzzo region – I spent the morning with Giovanni Minicucci, the founder of the pasta shop Chitarra Antica, making spaghetti alla chitarra in the traditional way (see page 54). I then rustled up a quick fresh tomato and chilli pasta sauce – the type that every Italian makes at home. So simple yet so delicious. If you can’t find spaghetti alla chitarra...

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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