Polenta with black bean and spicy sausage stew

polenta with black bean and spicy sausage stew

A staple with ancient origins, polenta has now found favour around the world. Mario Matassa demonstrates how wonderfully versatile it can be in this recipe for polenta with black bean and spicy sausage stew. Cooking polenta There’s good news and there’s bad news. I always like to start with the latter, as it pays to […]

Gastronomic Panettone

Turn Christmas leftovers into the perfect party starter with this panettone gastronomico recipe by Mario Matassa. This savoury take on the classic sweet panettone has in recent years become a fashionable antipasto in Italy, often served before Christmas lunch. Alternatively, prepared in the days after Christmas, I see it as the perfect vehicle for a good […]

Mediterranean Rice Salad

Indulge your taste buds in the vibrant flavours of Italy with this delightful ‘Insalata di riso’ Mediterranean rice salad recipe. Rice salad has been described as the caposaldo, ‘cornerstone’, of Italian summer cuisine. Every Italian has an opinion about what makes a good rice salad, and there are as many variations on the recipe as there are […]

Griddled chicken skewers

griddled chicken skewers

Griddled chicken skewers, or, spiedini are a popular summer treat to cook and eat outside… Spiedini, to give them their Italian name, are a firm favourite in Italy over the summer months. They don’t require indoor cooking and can be easily prepared in advance. They are cooked and sold at practically every festival throughout the country and […]


Pinzimonio vegetable selection with dips

Use fresh, seasonal vegetables to make this Pinzimonio starter a summertime stunner… You could barely call this a recipe, pinzimonio is more of an ensemble. Yet, it is a dish widely enjoyed in Italy, especially at the height of summer when vegetables are at their best. The joy of this dish is in the selection. […]

No Fuss Strawberry Ice Cream

strawberry ice cream

Gelato alla fragola velocissima Mario Matassa was given this strawberry ice cream recipe years back at the restaurant by a fellow chef when sparks started shooting from the back of the ice cream machine, which is not supposed to happen. The problem with most recipes for homemade ice cream made without the benefit of a […]

Fried Mozzarella Toasts

Fried mozzarella sandwich

Mozzarella in carrozza Mozzarella in carrozza is a tasty treat born in Napoli, which has become particularly popular in Venice. Like an elevated version of the classic grilled cheese (or toastie, if you prefer), this sandwich features fresh mozzarella, and is fried in a delicious golden batter. For true Venetian style, add a slice of […]

Fruit salad with Italian Chantilly cream

Fruit salad with cream

Macedonia con crema chantilly all’italiana Over the summer, it pays to take advantage of the wonderful supply of fresh seasonal fruits. One of my favourite desserts has always been a simple bowl of fresh strawberries with a generous dollop of Chantilly cream. But I also love Italian crema pasticcera (their version of custard, you could […]

Seafood Soup

seafood soup in bowl

Zuppa di pesce There’s something about fish soup that gives it the ‘wow’ factor. The key is good quality fresh fish and adding them according to their respective cooking times. One of the sheer joys of this dish is that not only does it look spectacular but it’s a dish you can dig in and […]

Focaccia with peppers and mozzarella

sliced focaccia on wooden table

Focaccia con peperoni e mozzarella As the days get warmer and the nights shorter, Italians take to one of their favourite pastimes: eating outdoors. The key to a successful summer evening party is to organise a menu that can mostly be prepared in advance. This focaccia recipe doesn’t require any kneading. It does have to […]