Authentic Bolognese and tips from the 'Godfather' of Italian cuisine
The Italian chef reveals how to create traditional Italian dishes with a few shop-bought staples
Tuscan chef Alvaro Maccioni is renowned for his wonderfully authentic Italian creations. Known by many as the 'Godfather' of Italian cuisine, Alvaro gained notoriety in the 60s, when stars (including Bond girl Brigitte Bardot and Princess Margaret) flocked to his trendy London restaurant La Terrazza. Today Alvaro's inspiring recipes continue to surprise and delight at his Chelsea restaurant, La Famiglia which serves an exciting fusion of contemporary and authentic Italian cuisine. Here he reveals his tips for cooking authentic Italian food at home. Having just teamed up with Italian food range Parioli to create some fabulous sauces and authentic products, he is not averse to using jars (many Italians do) but you have to use good ones and you have to know what to do with them...
Alvaro's tips for cooking Italian at home
1. Always serve pasta or spaghetti al dente and never re-heat it.
2. Once the pasta/spaghetti is cooked, add a dash of cold water to the pan of boiling water to ensure that the cooking process stops and the pasta/spaghetti will not be overdone.
3. A common mistake is to buy a sauce, add it to the pasta or spaghetti and serve it up as it is. Alvaro suggests always adding some fresh ingredients to a bought sauce in order to complement and enhance the flavour. So if the sauce has a mushroom base, add some extra chopped, fresh mushrooms. Similarly, if it is a spicy Aribiata sauce, you can either add some fresh tomato to cool it down, or some fresh, chopped chilli to heat it up.
4. Many people add too much sauce, drowning the pasta or spaghetti. The sauce should complement the pasta, Alvaro suggests around 1 small ladle of sauce for every portion of pasta or spaghetti.
5. Never add the sauce straight to the pasta/spaghetti, always put the sauce in a big dish first, then add the pasta/spaghetti to the sauce and toss. This will ensure that the sauce is spread more evenly.
6. With jars of antipasti, such as olives, sundried tomatoes or artichokes, always remove the product from the oil it has been marinating in and drizzle in fresh olive oil before serving - this will rejuvenate and freshen the taste.
7. For a grogeous plate of sun-dried tomatoes as a side, remove them from the oil they have been marinating in and wrap each tomato around a leaf of fresh basil, close the tomato around the basil leaf, to form a sandwich and squeeze together to remove excess oil. Arrange the tomatoes on a dish and drizzle with fresh olive oil. This will complement and enhance the tomato flavour.
8. For a fresh take on jarred olives, put the olives in a bowl and add either some finely chopped chive or spring onion, chopped garlic and a small amount of chilli to taste. Drizzle in olive oil and serve. This will bring out the full flavour of the olives.