Recipes


This is Italian home-cooking at its very best - using delicious fresh ingredients to create simple snacks, hearty dishes and my family favourites

Please find beow a selection of Aldo's favourite recipes.




Grilled tiger prawns and spinach salad with red pepper dressing


For the prawns
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
3 tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined, heads and tails left on

 

For the spinach salad
1 handful baby spinach
For the red pepper dressing
1 red pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice only
salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

  1. Soak a wooden skewer in cold water for ten minutes.

  2. For the prawns, mix the olive oil, lemon juice and herbs together in a bowl and add the prawns. Toss to coat, then leave to marinate for 5-10 minutes.

  3. Thread the prawns onto the skewer and cook on a hot chargrill pan for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until the prawns are pink and cooked through.

  4. For the salad, place the spinach in the centre of a serving plate.

  5. For the red pepper dressing, place the red pepper under a grill unit's highest setting. Turn occasionally, until blackened all over. Allow to cool before peeling off the skin, then chop the flesh and place into a food processor along with the remaining dressing ingredients. Blend until smooth.

  6. To serve, place the prawn skewer on top of the spinach and spoon the dressing around the edges of the plate.


Italian summer strawberry 'tiramisu'


Ingredients

165g/5½oz caster sugar
1 orange, zest and juice
3 tbsp orange-flavoured liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
30 sponge fingers (preferably Pavesini biscuits, available from most Italian delis)
6 free-range eggs, separated
325ml/11½fl oz double cream
500g/1lb 2oz mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp vanilla extract
250g/9oz strawberries, sliced
3 tbsp icing sugar

Method

  1. In a pan, gently heat 120g/4oz of the sugar with the orange zest. Add the liqueur and orange juice and continue to cook until the sugar has dissolved. Use tongs to quickly dip half the sponge fingers in the syrup (take care not to burn yourself), then lay them on the bottom of a square serving dish.

  2. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar to the bowl and whisk to combine. When the sugar has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the egg yolks until pale, doubled in volume and creamy. Pour into a cool bowl and set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. In a large bowl, beat the cream until thick. Fold the mascarpone into the cream, then fold in the egg yolks until combined. Fold in the egg whites and vanilla extract.

  4. Spread a layer of the mixture over the soaked sponge fingers then add a layer of strawberries. Continue layering the sponge fingers, creamy mixture and strawberries, finishing with a layer of strawberries. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to chill for two hours.

  5. Discard the cling film and dust the top of the summer pudding with icing sugar. Serve immediately.


Pork, apple and fennel sausage rolls


Ingredients
3 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
60g/2¼oz pancetta, chopped
300g/10½oz minced pork
60g/2¼oz fresh breadcrumbs
2 small dessert apples (approximately 100g/3½oz), peeled and coarsely grated
2-3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 free-range egg yolk
1 lemon, zest only
550g/1lb 4oz ready-made puff pastry
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method

  1. Heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and toast until aromatic (approximately 30 seconds), shaking the pan occasionally. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the seeds to a powder.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan set over a medium-low heat. Add the chopped fennel, shallot and garlic. Cook for five minutes, or until the fennel is golden-brown and tender. Add the pancetta to the pan.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the minced pork, toasted fennel seeds, cooled fennel mixture, breadcrumbs, apples, parsley and egg yolk. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a pinch of lemon zest.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line two large baking trays with baking paper.

  5. Cut the pastry in half widthways, roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface to a 25cm/10in square. Cut each pastry sheet in half. Divide the mince mixture into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a log and place on the centre of each piece of pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry well with the beaten egg. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling, overlapping the edges and pressing to seal. Transfer to the lined trays and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  6. Place the sausage rolls on a chopping board, seam-side down. Cut each roll into three equal pieces. Transfer back to the lined trays, leaving room between the pieces for them to spread during cooking.

  7. Brush the sausage rolls with more beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4. If the trays are on separate shelves swap them around at this point. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown.


Spaghetti arrabiata with squid


Ingredients
200g/7oz spaghetti
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, peeled, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
½ tsp finely chopped red chilli
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 small squid and tentacles, cleaned, skin removed, body cut into rings
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon wedge
1 whole venison fillet (about 350 g)
Bean salad
400 g can chickpeas, washed and
drained
400 g can kidney beans, washed
and drained
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Bring to the boil a large pan of salted water. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water, following the instructions on the packet for timing.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the chopped chilli and halved tomatoes. Cook, stirring, on a medium-low heat for two minutes.

  3. Add half the torn basil and the squid. Cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the squid flesh is cooked but still tender.

  4. Drain the spaghetti and mix with the sauce in the pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

  5. To serve, put the spaghetti in a bowl, scatter over the rest of the torn basil and serve with a lemon wedge.


Yorkshire curd tart


Ingredients
For the sweet shortcrust pastry

250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g/3½oz caster sugar
100g/3½oz chilled butter, diced
2 free-range egg yolks, beaten


For the curd filling
170g/6oz curd cheese (available from some large supermarkets)
100g/3½oz caster sugar
100g/3½oz butter, softened
10g/¼oz plain flour
50g/1¾oz raisins
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 lemon, zest only
pinch nutmeg
50g/1¾oz lemon curd

Method

  1. For the sweet shortcrust pastry, grease and flour a 30cm/12in tart tin.

  2. Place the flour, caster sugar and chopped cold butter into a bowl or food processor. Gently rub the ingredients together with your fingertips or blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  3. Add the beaten eggs and combine to form a light dough (add 2-3 tablespoons of water if needed).

  4. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 5mm/¼in thick.

  7. Line the prepared tart tin with the pastry and trim any excess from the edges. Any unused pastry can be frozen for later use.

  8. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans or dry pulses. Bake blind for 15-20 minutes at until dry and firm to touch.

  9. Remove the pastry case from the oven. Remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper. Set aside.

  10. For the filling, drain the liquid from the curd cheese by placing it in a sieve. Use the back of a spoon to squeeze out any excess moisture. Discard the liquid.

  11. In a bowl, beat the sugar and butter until smooth and pale.

  12. Add the flour, raisins, egg, curd cheese, lemon zest and nutmeg. Mix well.

  13. Spread the lemon curd over the pastry base, then fill with the curd cheese mix. Smooth the surface with a pallet knife or the back of a spoon.

  14. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and the filling set.

  15. Allow the tart to cool in the tin for 20-25 minutes.

  16. Remove from the tin and serve in slices.