Italian cooking with Jamie Oliver
My most favorite cookbook!
Dear reader, in this hub I would like to tell you more about my favorite cookbook ever and how I discovered it. To get straight to the point: it’s Jamie’s Italy from the much celebrated English chef Jamie Oliver. With this book you can put healthy traditional Italian food on your table that will amaze your family and friends. And the recipes are easy to make too!
Me and Jamie
When did I first ran into Jamie’s cooking? In the late Nineties suddenly there was this young guy on television with a show called The Naked Chef. For me, Jamie Oliver was the first person who managed to actually keep me watching an entire cooking program. Normally I would lose attention or zap to another channel. I guess it was because of the charming, personal and direct way in which he promoted the joy of cooking that immediately won me over. The things he cooked looked so damn tasty and easy to make. So I started following the show.
Now, ever since my holidays spent in Italy I have become an absolute sucker for traditional Italian cuisine. So when Jamie Oliver published his Italian cookbook in 2005 I immediately decided to give it a try. It turned out to be the best thing I have bought in years! Since I am a complete amateur cook I have to admit I was a bit skeptic about my results at first. But every dish I cooked looked great and tasted even better!
Even my friends were amazed!
I was stunned! Could I produce good, healthy and traditional Italian food without knowing too much about cooking techniques? Yes, I could! I admit this is probably going to sound a bit too enthusiastic, but I have cooked (and ate!) almost all of the dishes in the book and actually loved every one of them. I have put the recipe of one of my most favorite pasta dishes at the bottom of this hub. It’s a classical vegetarian Sicilian dish and a perfect illustration of how the Italians manage to create the most pure and intense flavors by combining only a few basic ingredients.
Let me tell you more about the book itself. It’s more than just a simple cookbook.In 2005, Jamie took a break with the Great Italian Escape, a six-part travelogueseries based on his travels around Italy and his love of Italian food. It follows Oliver as he travels around Italy in a blue VW van pulling a trailer for cooking. This Great Italian Escape was accompanied by Jamie's sixth book, Jamie's Italy which instantly went to number one in the UK and sold more copies in the week before Christmas than any other non-fiction book has ever done. The book was also nominated for the British Book Award 'Book of the Year' in the UK.Combining recipes, photos and stories the book tells about this highly personal story of Jamie’s travel through Italy and makes you part of his search for the typical culinary traditions of this inspiring country. Have a look at this video in which he takes it on against the local mammas. Pretty hilarious stuff!
Pasta Norma (for two persons)
1 small eggplant, cut into 1cm slice
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Small hand of thyme
large pinch of chili flakes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ small bunch basil, shredded
50g pecorino , parmesan or feta, grated
1. Cut discs across so you end up with little pieces of eggplant about the size of a finger. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the eggplant in batches, and fry on a fairly high heat until really tender and golden. You want it to be melt-in-the-mouth with no rubberiness left. Season with thyme at the end, fry for a minute more and tip out onto a plate.
2. Wipe out the pan then add another tbsp oil and cook the garlic for a minute. Add the chili flakes and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Cook the linguine following packet instructions. Stir half of the basil and all pieces of eggplant into the sauce and heat through. Toss with the drained linguine and finish with the grated cheese and the rest of the basil.