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Antonio Carluccio does simple cooking

Friday, 13 November 2009

Antonio Carluccio:

Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE

In September 2008, Antonio Carluccio, the much loved and respected Italian cookery writer, celebrated 50 years of championing, cooking and eating genuine, regional Italian food and wine. In 1958 at the age of 21 he began to cook simple pasta suppers for himself and his flat-mate on a two-ring stove in Vienna. Now, known for his gentle manner, gruff voice and his wild crop of white hair, Antonio is regarded as the Godfather of Italian gastronomy.

Being born on the Amalfi Coast in the South and raised in the wooded North-West has given Antonio a rare and privileged breadth of culinary knowledge. It was here, in Piedmont, at the age of seven that Antonio started his life-long past-time of hunting and collecting mushrooms and funghi with his father.

After time spent living in Germany, in 1975 Antonio moved to London and while learning English, traded as a wine merchant of Italian wines. His hobby of studying and collecting wild mushrooms continued to flourish as he found many varieties growing in the English countryside close to London, almost completely undiscovered.

Antonio took over the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden in 1981, which traded for 26 years. In 1991 Antonio opened a deli next to the restaurant and in 1998 started the first Carluccio's Caffè in Market Place, London. After ten years developing the Carluccio's caffè business Antonio is no longer a director but continues to work with the Carluccio's team on menu development and chef training whilst also concentrating on new projects.

In 1983 Antonio made his first appearance on BBC 2 talking about Mediterranean food and at the same time was asked to write his first book, An Invitation to Italian Cooking. Subsequently he has written thirteen books, published worldwide and made numerous television programmes including the hugely popular Antonio Carluccio's Northern Italian Feast and Southern Italian Feast.

In 1998, Antonio was awarded the Commendatore OMRI by the President of Italy for services to Italian gastronomy, the equivalent of a British knighthood. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary OBE.

Antonio acknowledges there will always be more to learn about the food he is passionate about. Above all he believes it is important to remain loyal to the ingredients and cooking traditions of his country.

You can find more info on Antonio at the following link:


" This dish is truly wonderful when using the fresh sausages made by the local Norcian masters, who are known as norcini. As they may be difficult to find, I suggest making the sausages from scratch instead- it's not too complicate, and its well worth it. You can get hold of Castelluccio lentils, the Italian puy lentils in a good delicatessen

Serves 4

. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
. 50g sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
. 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
. 250g Castelluccio lentils
. 450ml chicken stock
. 2 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped
. Salt and pepper

. 500g minced pork
. 50ml strong red wine
. 1 tsp fennel seeds
. 1 mild chilli, finely chopped
. 1 tsp chopped rosemary
. Salt and pepper

1. For the lentils, fry the garlic and the sun- dried tomatoes in 6 tbsp of the olive oil for a few minutes in a large pan.
2. When the garlic starts to turn pale golden, add the lentils, stock and celery, and cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Cover and keep warm over a low heat.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, mix the sausage ingredients together well and season with salt and pepper.
4. Take a handful of mince and roll it into a sausage shape, 8 cm long and 3 cm in diameter.
5. Wrap tightly in a piece of foil, closing by turning the ends as you would a sweet
6. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
7. Poach the sausages in the boiling water until they pop up to the surface, about 2-3 minutes.
8. Leave to cool a little, then take off the foil. This poaching should ensure that the sausages hold together.
9. Moisten the sausages with the remaining olive oil, then fry or grill(or roast) until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes.
10. Add the sausages to the warm lentils, and allow to cook gently together fro 5 minutes. Eat with bread or, if you like, with a few boiled potatoes.

TIRAMISU pg 165 in book

" Tiramisu is now so internationally well known that it can be found absolutely everywhere. But this classic MOF MOF (Minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour) recipe, which I created 30 years ago, is both simple and delicious. Try it, and you will discover that you instantly become a dessert maker!"

Makes 4 individual tiramisus

. 2 egg yolks
. 100g caster sugar
. A few drops of good vanilla essence
. 400g mascarpone cheese
. 80ml single cream
. A little milk, if needed
. 400ml strong espresso coffee
. 4 tsp Kahlua or Tia Maria
. 18 Savoyard biscuits(or ladies fingers, they need to be absorbent)
. Some bitter cocoa powder, to dust

1. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, 80g of caster sugar and the vanilla essence together.
2. In a second larger bowl, mix the mascarpone with the cream to make it thinner.
3. Mix the mascarpone with the egg. Should the mixture be too dense, add afew drops of milk.
4. Mix the coffee, chosen liqueur and remaining caster sugar together in a third bowl.
5. Dip the biscuits briefly into the coffee (don't let them absorb too much liquid) and use to line 4 individual ramekins, cutting them in half if necessary to fit.
6. Put in a layer of the mascarpone mixture, then top with some more biscuits, finishing with mascarpone and filling the ramekins to the top.
7. Dust the tops with a little cocoa powder and chill until ready to serve