While we might not be able to bring the rolling Tuscan hills or Rome’s Piazza Navona into your front room, we can bring the best of Italy to your plate. Conjure up some of that bella Italia foodie magic with these five unmissable ingredients
Affogato means ‘drowned’ in Italian and is an apt name for this near-instant dessert. Drench scoops of our in-store Tiramisu Gelato in hot espresso and sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts and grated dark chocolate.
If you want to enjoy the full beauty of those gorgeous swirls of ice cream and coffee, serve the affogato in glass mugs, filled with ice cream and popped in the freezer beforehand so that the it melts more slowly.
2. Tomato alfresco
Ever disappointed that some tomatoes just don’t taste of tomato? Try Datterini Tomatoes, so called because of their date-like shape and sweetness, which are picked at their plumpest when fully ripened by the sun. Semi-dried to intensify their flavour, they’re lip-smackingly good on their own as antipasti. Add to salads for a fragrant-flavour burst, or toss with orzo and pine nuts for a side that stands proud on its own.
3. Truffle hunt
Big and bold in flavour, the black summer truffle is one of Italy’s finest woodland treasures. We’ve used this prized ingredient in our decadent Truffle Pesto, which is balanced with a touch of Grana Padano cheese. A little goes a long way: stir it into creamy scrambled eggs for a top-notch Bank Holiday brunch; or spread sparingly on our tangy Italian-style Sourdough and top with slices of mozzarella and a scattering of fresh basil for pre-dinner bruschetta.
4. Traditional pickle
Pickles have had a bit of a renaissance in Britain recently, but the Italians have kept a recipe close to their hearts for generations. Our Giardiniera Pickle is the real Italian job, made with cauliflower, carrots, peppers, courgette and onion. Preserved in white wine vinegar instead of oil, it’s light, with an aromatic garlicky kick. Drain and dress with olive oil for a piquant salad, use to lift cold meats and hard cheeses, or to bring sharpness to pan-fried pork chops, drizzled with lemon juice.
5. Pasta pronto
Got a busy weekend? Keep a jar of Alla Norma Pasta Sauce in your store cupboard and you’ll be able to knock up a delicious meal in moments. This traditional sauce comes from Sicily, and our take is made with moreish chunks of roasted aubergine and ricotta salata (salted and aged ricotta), which melts into the sauce once cooked. Pour over chicken breasts and bake until tender, or stir into ribbons of egg-rich tagliatelle.
1½ tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breasts
200g red and yellow cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch chilli flakes
50g fresh pesto
125g mozzarella, cut into slices
1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
Handful fresh basil
Juice ½ lemon
Baby spinach and rocket, to serve
If there's one ingredient the Italians appreciate, it's tomatoes. Discover how to make the best of them with our fresh recipes
With all that great food, you're going to need a great glass of punchy red or a chilled bottle of ultra-crisp sunny white to match