Thursday, January 20, 2011

GINO'S PASTA - Everything you need to cook the Italian way

Gino D'Acampo
Kyle Cathie
Hardback - $49.99

This is my favourite non-NZ cookbook from 2010 and I had great fun reading it and cooking from it over the holidays.
The author, London-based where he is a popular chef on TV shows, is a master of modern Italian cooking and in this inspirational book he provides 100 mouth-watering recipes some of which the publishers have allowed me to reproduce below along with some of his tips on cooking pasta.

Gino’s tips for Perfect Pasta
In my family we always calculate 120g of dried pasta per serving, therefore we usually use a packet of 500g for four people. Of course you can use less but more would be very greedy. If I had to choose the best tools to cook a great pasta dish they would be :

A large pot
A large colander/sieve for draining the cooked pasta
A long pair of tongs, which are useful for any longshaped pasta
A long wooden spoon, which can be used to stir the pasta and the sauce that you are preparing.

Gino ’s Top Ten Pasta Tips
To cook the perfect pasta, you should always make sure that you have enough water in the saucepan. You need 4.5 litres of water to cook 500g of pasta.

Make sure that the water is always bollente (fast boiling) before you start cooking the pasta.

For every 4.5 litres of water, you will need two heaped tablespoons of salt.

Never ever cook pasta with the lid on the saucepan.

Stir the pasta into the boiling water at least every two minutes during cooking.

There is never any need to put oil into the boiling water before you cook the pasta – it’s just a waste of time and money.

Make sure the pasta is always cooked al dente (firm to the bite) – so keep tasting as you cook.

Remember that fresh pasta always cooks faster than dried varieties.

When making pasta dough, make sure you do not overknead it, otherwise the dough will get warm and will be more difficult to stretch.

The most important rule of all – always make sure that the pasta is coated in the sauce and never just place the sauce on top of the pasta.

Linguine with tinned tuna, olives and chilli

Without doubt this has to be one of my father’s favourite pasta dishes. I remember when I used to live with him it was a must-have dish at least once a week but not always with the same shape of pasta. Please make sure that you never use tuna in brine for this recipe and if you like you can add some capers to the sauce.

Serves 4

10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
100g pitted Kalamata olives, drained and quartered
5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 /2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 x 200g tin tuna in oil, drained and flaked
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
500g linguine of your choice
salt to taste

1 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the garlic, olives and anchovies for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon.
2 Add in the tomatoes with the chilli and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
3 Scatter in the tuna with the parsley, season with a little salt and mix together for 1 minute. Set aside.
4 Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and tip back into the same pan over a low heat.
5 Pour in the tuna, tomato and olive sauce and stir everything together for 30 seconds to allow the flavours to combine.
6 Serve hot and please do not be tempted to serve it with grated cheese on top.
Linguine with cherry tomatoes, pancetta and white wine

With no doubt, I have to dedicate this recipe to my friend and manager, Jeremy Hicks. We have known each other for seven years now and without fail he has to have this pasta dish at least once a week. I actually agree with him, it’s one of my favourites too, because I just love the combination of the onion, pancetta and chilli. If you prefer you can substitute linguine with spaghetti or tagliatelle.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and finely sliced
250g diced pancetta
100ml dry white wine
2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
500g linguine
3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
100g freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt to taste

1 Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat and fry the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the pancetta and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook for a further 2 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
2 Add the cherry tomatoes and chilli, stir well and gently simmer for 8 minutes, uncovered, stirring every couple of minutes. Once the sauce is ready, season with salt, remove from the heat and set aside.
3 Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and tip back into the same pan. Pour in the sauce and add the parsley; stir everything together for 30 seconds to allow the flavours to combine.
4 Serve immediately, sprinkled with the Pecorino Romano cheese.

The Bookman has made both of these dishes and can warmly recommend them to you. But truly the book is filled with the most delicious recipes, mouth-watering, and all illustrated in full colour along with loads of  other gorgeous foodie photos.

Extracted with kind permission from ‘Gino’s Pasta: Everything you need to cook the Italian Way’, by Gino D’Acampo’, with photography by Kate Whitaker, published by Kyle Cathie and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland, RRP $49.99.


Shelley said...

I like these recipes because they don't seem too difficult. Just wondering if the first one would work without the anchovy fillets for those of us who aren't anchovy lovers. Or if there's something we could substitute?

It all sounds healthy, too. Thanks!

Alessandra said...

I didn't know him, thank you for the info :-)



Alessandra said...


I have a giveaway book on my blog, in case you are interested

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

Great tips..thanks for posting. Now I just need to figure out how to convert grams to cups.