Potato Pizza

Pizza di Patate. From Bari.This is another recipe from Nonna Stella. Calling it a pizza is a bit misleading as no bread or flour is involved. It is basically mashed potato baked with a cheese filling. Serves about 6 as a side dish.

Potato pizza ingredients

Potato pizza ingredients

• 800 g  potatoes
• 150 g scamorza or mozzarella
• 2 eggs
• About 50 g Grana padano or Parmesan
• Butter
• Dry breadcrumbs

  1. Boil and mash the potatoes. I prefer to boil them whole and unpeeled, allow them to cool for a few minutes and then peel.
  2. Add the eggs and Grana to the potatoes and mix well.
  3. Well grease a pizza tin or spring form cake tin with butter. Dust the tin with breadcrumbs.
  4. Spread half of the potato mix over the base. Cover with the grated scamorza or mozzarella. Finally add the rest of the potato to form a layer over the cheese.
  5. Sprinke the top of the pizza with some more dry breadcrumbs and dot with small knobs of butter.
  6. Bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes. The pizza is ready when the top is nicely brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.
  7. Can be eaten hot, warm or even cold.
Potato pizza finished dish

Potato pizza finished dish

Grilled aubergines

puglia crest Melanzane arrostite. From Puglia.



  • 600g aubergines, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper




  1. Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and drain in a colander for around an hour. Rinse and dry with kitchen towels.
  2. Grill the slices, prefferably on a barbecue.
  3. Arrange the aubergines in layers in a dish. Season each layer with garlic, mint, parsley, pepper, a good drizzle of oil and a few splashes of vinegar.
  4. Leave to rest for a few hours.
  5. Drizzle with a little more oil when you are ready to serve.





Poor man’s courgettes – Salento style

Zucchine alla poverella, versione salentina. From Salento, Puglia.

  • 1 kilogram courgettes, washed and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • salt

  1. Sprinkle the courgettes with salt and drain in a colander for a while to remove some of their liquid.
  2. Fry the cloves of garlic in plenty of olive oil until golden. Remove the garlic and discard.
  3. Add the courgettes to the pan and fry until done. Note: Shake the pan rather than stirring to avoid the courgettes becoming mushy.
  4. Adjust the salt, sprinkle with parsley and serve as an antipasto or a side dish (it is also good cold)

Panzanella Laziale

Lazio crestPanzanella Laziale. There are probably as many versions of this dish as there are cooks in Italy. This one comes from Lazio. Panzanella is a great way to use up stale bread.

Panzanella ingredients

Panzanella ingredients

  • 1 kilogram stale bread
  • 8 ripe tomatoes — deseed and chopped
  • 1 bunch basil — torn into small pieces
  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • capers (salted or in vinegar) to taste
  • anchovies to taste
  1. Soften the bread with a little water and tear into smallish pieces.
  2. Mix together the bread, basil, tomatoes, capers and anchovies.
  3. Dress with olive oil and a little vinegar (if the capers are in vinegar don’t add any extra).
  4. Leave for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and serve.
  5. Variation: Leave the slices of bread whole and serve topped with the rest of the ingredients.


Artichokes with anchovies

Carciofi alle acciughe. We are well into artichoke season now and I seem to be eating them three times a week. Not a problem :-)Serves 4

artichokes with anchovies ingredients

4 Artichokes
3 salted anchovies (or 6 tinned fillets)
    olive oil
1 clove garlic

  • Trim and quarter the artichokes
  • Fry the whole, peeled garlic clove in a little olive oil until browned, remove and discard.
  • Add the artichokes and about 1cm of water. Cover and steam until the artichokes are tender.
  • If using salted anchovies, fillet, soak for 10 minutes in cold water and drain
  • Remove the artichoke from the pan and add the anchovies. Reduce the cooking liquid, stirring all the time, until the anchovies have disolved.
  • Return the artichokes to the pan, mix well and cook for a few minutes to allow them to take up the sauce.
  • Serve as a side dish

artichokes with anchovies finished dish

Fennel ‘alla diavola’


Finocchi alla diavola.  Alla diavola  translates as ‘the devil’s way’ which usually means a little spicy. In this case it means that the dish includes hot mustard. The recipe comes from the Silver Spoon, so I haven’t actually seen it in Italy. It is good for people who don’t normally like fennel, as the mustard and vinegar remove the strong aniseed taste that many people find distasteful. Serves 4.

Fennel alla diavola ingredients

Fennel alla diavola ingredients


  • 4 salted anchovies (or 8 tinned fillets) — cleaned, filleted and soaked, then chopped
  • 50 ml  olive oil
  • 4 fennel bulbs — trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp dijon or English mustard
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the anchovies and cook, mashing with a wooden spoon, until they have almost disintegrated, then add the fennel.
  2. Mix together the mustard and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the mixture over the fennel.
  3. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until the fennel is tender. Add a little water from time to time if necessary.
  4. Remove the fennel from the pan and place on a warmed serving dish. Turn up the heat, add the lemon juice to the cooking liquid and stir until it starts to thicken
  5. Pour the sauce over the fennel and serve.
Fennel alla diavola finished dish

Fennel alla diavola finished dish



Mushroom ‘arraganati’

This is a great way to cook mushrooms. I used a mixture of cardoncelli and pioppini but it would go well with any kind. Serve it as a side dish with anything you fancy.  It would go great with game.

Serves 4

Mushrooms ingredients

Mushrooms ingredients

  •   480 g  mushrooms — cleaned and halved
  •   60 g  bread crumbs
  •   40 g  pecorino Romano — grated
  •   4 cloves  garlic — chopped
  •   200 g  tomato — chopped
  •   40 ml  olive oil
  •   4 sprigs  parsley — chopped
  1. Mix together the bread crumbs, pecorino, parsley, garlic and oil. Season
  2. Mix with your hands until it comes together.
  3. Put the mushrooms and tomatoes into an oven proof dish and top with the bread crumb mixture
  4. Bake at 180 °C for about half an hour.
Baked mushrooms finished dish

Baked mushrooms finished dish

Courgette salad

Some friends recommended a little osteria in the old city, so I gave it a go last weekend. We were warned beforehand about the offhand rudeness of the staff. Just as well, because it wasn’t an exaggeration 🙂

“You want to eat? Sit there! No, not there, THERE!”

He was just as bad to the locals, so we didn’t feel picked on. The food more than made up for it. (It was actually quite entertaining in a ‘Fawlty Towers’ kind of way)

This is my attempt to recreate a salad served as part of the antipasti. Again, it is so simple that it doesn’t really count as a recipe. You must use really small and fresh courgettes though.

Courgette salad ingredients

Courgette salad ingredients

  • Small, very fresh courgette,, halved and then thinly sliced.
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt

  1. Season the courgettes with a little salt and then dress with oil and vinegar (about 3-1 oil to vinegar)
    Errrmmm…that’s it 🙂
Courgette salad

Courgette salad

The original version looked like this.

osteria antipasti

Potatoes with garlic and rosemary

A great side dish. Goes great with a roast. If you don’t have to meet anyone within the following 24 hours, peel and eat the garlic, it’s delicious. Otherwise fish it out and throw it away. The potatoes will still retain a distinct but not overpowering garlic kick. Serves 4

Potatoes with garlic and rosemary finished dish

Potatoes with garlic and rosemary finished dish

  •   4  medium  potatoes — diced
  •   1  head  garlic — separated into cloves, but not peeled
  •   2  sprigs  rosemary — removed from the stalk and roughly chopped
  •   olive oil
  •   coarse sea salt
  1. Fry the potatoes and garlic in a little olive oil over a medium heat
  2. When nicely brown and cooked through (about 25 mins) , throw in the rosemary
  3. Season with sea salt and serve immediately.