The Amalfi Coast is second joint book from husband and wife team Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, following The Italian Mama’s Kitchen (2008). Whereas Katie’s solo book, The Italian Cookery Course (released at about the same time as The Amalfi Coast) covers recipes from across the entire country, The Amalfi Coast focuses on the food of the sunshine-drenched Italian Riviera. Full of sumptuous images of local scenery and food, it’s an evocative cookery book following the route of their exploration, between Positano and Ravello.
The Caldesis are well known for their eponymous Italian restaurant and caffe in London, their second restaurant in Bray and their London cookery school, La Cucina Caldesi, at which Katie is the principal. The couple also starred in a BBC series called Return to Tuscany, about the cookery school they ran in Italy until 2009 and have appeared on many other food shows since then.
Flicking through it takes me back to a long ago holiday… winding and rather exhilarating coastal roads… tiny villages clinging to vertiginous cliffs… views down to sparkling seas with bobbing boats tied at the marina… groves of lemon trees, bright and colourful like the limoncello served in every restaurant and cafe… smartly dressed locals enjoying a pre-dinner stroll to see and be seen… and long and leisurely lunches that last so long they morph into dinner…
We decided to make the Caldesis’ Gnocchi Ripieni recipe mainly because we already had smoked cheddar in the fridge after making Gastrogeek’s (Amazing) Roasted Aubergine Macaroni Cheese recipe. It’s essentially a smoked cheese gnudi recipe, and melts in the mouth.
The flavour is beautifully balanced and not too strong; and the soft, pillowy morsels work well with a simple tomato sauce. We’ve used posh ready-made and made fresh using another recipe in the book.
And best of all, they’re very easy to make. A winner all round!
The book contains little you wouldn’t find in many Italian cookery books, and most of the dishes are familiar, but for me that’s much of the appeal. Recipes such as paccheri alla Genovese (pasta tubes with sweet onion and beef sauce), polpettine di carne al sugo di pomodore (meatballs in tomato sauce), pollo al limone (lemon chicken), zucchine scapece (fried courgettes with mint and vinegar), torta di ricotta & pere (pear and ricotta tart) and sorbetto o granita al limone (limoncello sorbet or granita) are the kind of food that fit my kind of cooking.
Nearly every recipe has a photograph, and there are more in between of the landscapes and people of the region. It’s an attractive book, a pleasure to look at.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of The Amalfi Coast from publisher Hardie Grant.