Panna Cotta

panna cotta

Join resident chef Mario Matassa as he shows us how to make perfect panna cotta with step by step instructions! In Italy, panna cotta, like tiramisù, zabaglione and budino, falls within that category of dessert known as dolci al cucchiaio – desserts that are to be eaten with a spoon. Very little is known about […]

The Perfect Italian Pandemic Pick-Me-Up

Julia Kolbert tells the little-known story of Tiramisù: The Perfect Italian Pandemic Pick-Me-Up   For all the extolling of their Mediterranean diet, the Italians do have a decidedly sweet tooth, especially at breakfast time. All those buttery brioches filled with jam, and their predilection for cake, Nutella and sugar-laden coffee are too much for this […]



Meascia, a type of bread cake, was a staple of cucina povera – an inexpensive way to make dessert using whatever was in the store cupboard. Mario Matassa shows us how to make it I’ve used apples from the nearby Valtellina in this version of meascia, but it can also be made with pears and you […]

Trout fillets with green olive and caper pesto


Mario Matassa brings us this trout dish, known in Italian as filetti di trota con pesto di olive e capperi – make it tonight! Lake fish, like trout, naturally features strongly in the cuisine around the lakes. It was once a staple but overfishing was such that, for a time, other sources of fresh fish […]

Gnocchi alla comasca


This gnocchi dish originates from the Como area, and uses a local taleggio cheese, which combines with the tomato and pancetta to make a flavourful sauce, says Mario Matassa There is a long tradition around the Italian lakes of making homemade gnocchi – this dish is an easy way to recreate the flavours of the […]

Stuffed guinea fowl

Stuffed guinea fowl

For a festive centrepiece Italian-style you can’t go wrong with roast guinea fowl (faraona ripiena). Mario Matassa gives us the low-down… There are a number of ways to cook guinea fowl, but at Christmas a roast seems almost obligatory. The key to a good roast is to make sure you do not overcook. You might […]

Crespelle ripiene (filled crêpes)

Filled crêpes

This dish originates from Emilia-Romagna and is served in restaurants throughout the area. Mario Matassa brings us a recipe for these tasty crêpes These crespelle – crêpes – make a satisfying dish. The filling is flexible – here I have used red radicchio, but you could also use spinach, mushrooms or ham: Serves 4-6 Preparation time 20 minutes plus […]

Insalata di rinforzo

Reinforcing salad

Full of the strong flavours that are typical of the region, this Campanian dish will evoke memories for anyone who has ever visited Naples – Here’s Mario Matassa’s take on ‘reinforcing salad’: Insalata di rinforzo (‘reinforcing salad’) hails from Campania in the south of Italy. Its name refers to its capacity to reinforce the appetite. It can […]

Baccalà alla napoletana

Salt cod Neapolitan-style

Baccalà alla napoletana (salt cod) is a hugely popular dish in Italy, and is a popular Christmas Eve dish among Italians. Mario Matassa shows us how it’s done… Baccalà is sold everywhere in Italy in the run-up to Christmas. It is important to buy it in advance as it needs to be soaked in water for […]

Canestrelli biscuits


This recipe for canestrelli biscuits makes it easy to create this tasty Ligurian treat – Mario Matassa shares his technique to show us how its done… These biscotti would traditionally have been twice cooked (bis-cotti), resulting in a crisp exterior and crumbly interior. Canestrelli can be bought today, fresh from the ovens, in any good […]