Insalata Caprese – Authentic recipe

Insalata Caprese finished dish

Insalata Caprese finished dish

campania crestFrom Campania. This salad is named after the island of Capri, in the Gulf of Naples, near to Sorrento. Versions of this dish can be now be found in “Italian” restaurants all over the world. It is extremely simple, just “mozzarella”, tomatoes and good extra virgin olive oil.

As always, the quality of the ingredients is very important. First the “mozzarella”. The name should technically be reserved for buffalo milk cheese. Cows milk cheese is known as “fior di latte”. The milk used is not as important as the freshness. In fact Accademia Italiana della Cucina recommends using a cow’s milk cheese from Agerola or Sorrento. Most people here insist on eating it on the day it is made. Mozzarella made the day before is only good for pizza. If all you can find is supermarket cheese with a shelf life of up to a month, it wont be worth making this dish, make a pizza instead 🙂 Slice into fairly thin slices, about half a centimetre or a quarter of an inch.

Next, the tomatoes. Again, use the best you can find. Try to find them about the same size as the cheese. This makes the presentation nicer. Slice crossways into slices of about the same size as the cheese.

Arrange them on a plate, alternating the tomato and mozzarella. Add a generous amount of fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. You can season with a little salt if you like.

The Academia suggests an alternative method where the cheese and tomatoes are diced.

The salad will taste much better if you serve it at room temperature, not straight from the fridge.

Unlike most salads in Italy, this is served as a main course, rather than a side dish.

Insalata Caprese ingredients

Insalata Caprese ingredients


Sausages in tomato sauce

Salsicce al pomodoro. This is a great way to turn the humble banger into something special. Use the best quality sausage you can find – at least 90% meat. This dish is often made with chipolatas and served cold as an antipasto. Serves 4.

Sausages in tomato sauce ingredients

Sausages in tomato sauce ingredients

  • 8 sausages (preferably Italian but any high meat content sausage will do)
  • 100 milliliters dry white wine
  • 250 milliliters passata
  • salt and pepper
  1. Prick the sausages with a fork, put the in a pan and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over a low heat, turning occasionally. When the water has evaporated the sausages will start to fry in their own fat. Continue until they are golden brown.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it is completely evaporated and the sausages are just starting to fry again.
  3. Add the passata, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for around 15 minutes.
  4. This dish can be cooked with small sausages and served cold as an antipasto.
Sausages in tomato sauce finished dish

Sausages in tomato sauce finished dish


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.


Meatloaf in tomato sauce

This dish can be eaten hot or cold. If you like you can use some of the sauce with some pasta  as the first course. Polpettone al sugo is eaten all over Italy. Serves 8

meat loaf ingredients

  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 250g bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 60g parmesan – grated
  • 4 eggs
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 cans plum tomatoes
  • handful of basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  1. Mix together the meat, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, eggs, salt and pepper
  2. Form into a large oval meatloaf.
  3. Fry the loaf in a large casserole until it’s golden-brown on all sides.

meatloaf ready to cook

  1. In a seperate pan, fry the onion in olive oil until golden. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, break up with a wooden spoon and cook over a medium heat for about ten minutes.
  3. Add the sauce to the meatloaf, cover and simmer for around an hour.
  4. Towards the end of cooking, remove the lid to allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Let the meatloaf rest for ten minutes before serving.

meatloaf finished dish