Cook Up A Feast With Traditional, Authentic Italian Dishes From "Jamie Cooks Italy"
We all love Jamie Oliver’s fresh and raw take on food, highlighting the best of each ingredient and letting each element shine in the finished product. This time around, he’s scouring the whole of Italy for Jamie Cooks Italy to find the best homecooked recipes in the world, handed down through generations.
Here are some of our favorite Italian dishes from Jamie Cooks Italy, which communicate traditional and authentic Italian flavors and techniques—and are easy to try at home, too!
Grilled Squid Salad
Jamie was inspired to make this grilled squid salad recipe from the 92-year-old Nonna Franchina, who has been cooking since she was 10 years old and continues to run a small-scale caper farm in her backyard. Instead of stuffing the squid with caper filling, Jamie creates a mind-blowing caper salsa that’s also great for dressing grilled vegetables or other seafood.
- 2 tablespoons baby capers in brine
- 2 lemons
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 4 anchovy fillets in oil , from sustainable sources
- 30 g shelled unsalted pistachios
- ½ a bunch of fresh mint , (15g)
- 4 large squid , cleaned, gutted, from sustainable sources
- 500 g large ripe tomatoes
- Soak the capers in a bowl of water.
- Squeeze all the lemon juice into a large shallow bowl and add 4 tablespoons of oil.
- Peel the garlic and finely chop with the chilli, anchovies, pistachios, drained capers and mint leaves. Scrape it all into the bowl and mix together well.
- Reserving the tentacles, run a sharp knife down the length of each squid tube, cutting through one side only so you can open each one out like a book. Lightly score the inside of each tube in a criss-cross fashion at ½cm intervals.
- To cook the squid, get the tentacles on early, then add the tubes, from largest to smallest. In a screaming hot griddle pan or on a barbecue, cook each piece for about 1 minute per side – with no oil or seasoning – until lightly charred and starting to curl. Start with the cut side when you do the tubes, and keep the squid moving for even cooking.
- As each piece is done, use tongs to dunk it straight into the salsa, turning and coating it in all that flavour.
- Slice the tomatoes and lay over a serving platter.
- Finely slice the squid tubes, pull the tentacles apart, then arrange on top of the tomatoes.
- Spoon over all the remaining salsa, and serve hot or at room temperature.
Hero Tomato Sauce
When it comes to Italian cuisine, nothing beats a great tomato sauce. The secret to a lot of great Italian dishes is a phenomenal tomato sauce that brings all the ingredients together. Try to batch cook this tomato sauce and store in the freezer for when you need it.
- 4 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 2 fresh red chillies
- 1 big bunch of fresh basil (60g)
- 4 x 400 g tins of quality cherry tomatoes
- Peel and finely slice the garlic and place in a large pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry until lightly golden, stirring occasionally.
- Halve the chillies lengthways (deseed if you like) and stir into the pan.
- Tear in the basil (stalks and all).
- Scrunch in the tomatoes through your clean hands, then swirl a little water around each tin and pour into the pan. Bring the whole lot to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and now you’ve got a choice – you can either leave the sauce chunky, or I like to pass it through a coarse sieve, making sure to really push all that goodness through.
- Taste, season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper, and you’re done. You can use the sauce straight away, cover and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week, or divide between ziplock bags, label and freeze in portions for future meals.
Fish in Crazy Water
Cooking fish doesn’t have to be tricky. In fact, you can grab your favorite round fish and just cook the whole thing in this simple but flavorful sauce.
- 2 spring onions
- ½ a bulb of fennel
- 1 carrot
- 200 g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes , on the vine
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ a fresh red chilli
- 8-10 mixed olives , (stone in)
- olive oil
- 2 x 350 g whole round fish , such as royal bream, trout, sea bass, red mullet, scaled, gutted, gills removed, from sustainable sources
- 1 bunch of mixed fresh soft herbs (30g) , such as flat-leaf parsley, mint, fennel tops
- 150 g Greco di Tufo white wine
- 1 lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- Trim the spring onions and fennel (reserving any leafy tops), peel the carrot, then slice them all 1/2 cm thick. Halve the tomatoes. Peel and finely slice the garlic and chilli. Squash and destone the olives.
- Put a large frying pan on a high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the onions, fennel and carrot.
- After four minutes, add the tomatoes, garlic, chilli, and olives. Toss regularly for 2 minutes.
- Lightly score the fish on both sides (this will help the flavor and heat to penetrate as it cooks).
- Lay the fish on top of the veg, stuff half the herbs into the cavities, then pour over the wine and let it reduce by half. Add about 300ml of water, to come 1cm up the side of the pan. Cover and leave to thunder away on a high heat for 8 minutes (boiling underneath, steaming on top means fragrant veggies).
- Pick the remaining herb leaves, finely grate the lemon zest over them, then chop and mix together.
- Uncover the fish and baste with its juices for 1 minute. To check the fish is cooked, go to the thickest part up near the head – if the flesh flakes easily away from the bone, it’s done.
- Serve on a plate, spoon over the veg and juices, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, scatter over the lemony herbs, then squeeze over the lemon juice.
Stracotto (Italian Pot Roast)
In Italy, Stracotto means “overcooked,” which is a witty way to describe how slow the beef is cooked in this recipe. Inspired by Nonna Miriam from Panzano, this pot roast elevates the traditional Bolognese flavors by making a richer, more comfort-food level of sauce. This pot roast is best served with rice or pasta.
- 1 kg piece of beef chuck, sinew removed
- olive oil
- 2 red onions
- 2 carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 15 g fresh rosemary
- 15 g fresh sage
- 250 ml Chianti red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato pure´e
- 1.5 litres organic meat or veg stock
- Pasta of choice
- Place the meat in a fairly snug-fitting casserole pan on a medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of oil, turning with tongs.
- Peel the onions, carrots and garlic, trim the celery and fennel, then roughly chop it all to make a soffritto – it cooks low and slow so there’s no need to be too precise. Stir into the pan.
- Tie the rosemary and sage together and add into the pan, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it starts to caramelize, stirring the veg and turning the meat occasionally.
- Turn the heat up to high, pour in the wine, stir in the tomato pure´e, and let the wine cook away. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then place a double layer of scrunched-up wet greaseproof paper on the surface. Reduce to a low heat and cook for around 3 hours, or until the meat is meltingly tender, turning and basting occasionally. Season to perfection.
- Lift the meat out on to a board, carve it into thin slices, and spoon over enough of the sauce to keep the meat nice and juicy. Toss the rest of the sauce (reduce on the hob, if needed) with freshly cooked pasta—tagliatelle for an authentic Italian feel—and finely grate over a little Parmesan, to serve.
Watch Jamie Cooks Italy on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Fresh episodes on Mondays, 7 p.m., with replays throughout the week.