Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Lunch courtesy of Katie Caldesi

Working with Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi means food is even more central to our thinking than ever before. We are lucky enough to have in our possession Katie's new book - The Italian Cookery Course. It's an amazing collection of recipes, masterclasses and ingredients from Katie's experiences of travelling across Italy. So, the immediate thought was 'what can we cook for lunch from Katie's book?' - I stepped up and accepted the challenge of going first and didn't hesitate to choose Stufato di salsicce, fave e patate as the first dish to serve up. Sausage, broad bean and potato casserole to you and I.

Katie's brilliant book which you should all get a copy of...

Sunday afternoon saw me in creative mood in the kitchen, photocopy of the recipe close by and all my ingredients ready to go. Without claiming to know anything or everything about Italian cooking, it seems to me that great ingredients prepared simply to provide the maximum taste and flavour is what it's all about. And this is exactly what this recipe was. It's essentially two simple stages - first you make your lampascione - potatoes, onions, pancetta and rosemary and then it's all about getting the sausages in your casserole dish, adding the potato recipe your tomatoes and cook it for 30 mins in the oven. I'd like to make out it was far more complicated and it took culinary skill beyond the mere mortal to come up with the end result, but that would be wildly misleading and actually far less fun. The best way of judging this is that I was able to prepare and cook this at home without either of my two eldest boys coming in to complain as to why I was in the kitchen and not playing football outside in the garden - so no excuses for not having the time to make it!

Lampascioni a la Gerry Williams!

And here it is - more than enough for Sunday's supper and Monday's lunch and such a short, easy list of ingredients makes it a really inexpensive but massively tasty meal. I made one small change, not being the biggest fan of broad beans, I swapped in butter beans and I'm pretty sure it worked ok...

For lunch, something so hearty needs nothing more than a simple side salad. So that's exactly what we did - spinach, avocado, feta and balsamic vinegar.

It's not the lightest meal to tackle in the day, so the 8 mile run home ensured that any guilt or shameful feelings of greed were balanced out. But to be honest, eating such flavour-packed, delicious food is a pleasure and one that we thank Katie for immensely. Just as impressive for a dinner party, this is one of the most flexible and fun dishes to make.

To learn loads more about Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, click here to go to their website and don't wait too long to visit one of their restaurants or create something from their vast array of amazing Italian recipes.

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