What’s this? An Italian cookbook that has only a few pasta recipes in it? Now that’s a turn up for the books and no mistake. I’m so excited I am prepared to turn a blind eye to Gino D’Acampo’s moody posing in grainy black and white, sexy stubble and furry arms to the fore and with a sheen of olive oil all over his face. Not since the last Tom Aitken book has a chef preened quite so much between the covers.
I’ll forgive him too because I reckon he’s been led into all this by his agent. The recipes themselves are crackers and quite good enough to stand on their own without the overt subtext that Gino is a successful swordsman whose culinary skills can disarm a lovely laydee at five hundred yards. The book is themed around Sexeee and Romantic but really its all about some great taste combinations and ease of application. Gino also knows that sometimes a man must make do on his own and so there is chapter where the art of self-pleasure is celebrated with recipes just for one and one only: Herby Potato Cakes with bubbling Goat’s Cheese, Italian Bean Curry (!), Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham with a Creamy Herb Sauce being just a couple he knocks out.
There isn’t a recipe in here I don’t fancy rather more than I fancy Gino. They all look good in the excellent photography and read well; how could you not want Baked Omelette with sun-dried tomatoes, rocket and feta cheese? Or Roasted squash with chilli and sage crumbs?
I would give this book pride of place on my cookbook shelf, had the shelf not collapsed last week narrowly avoiding crushing the cat and totally destroying the ornamental Buddha beneath while tearing huge chunks out of the wall. Once the shelf is back up though this book is going to be the one I’ll be turning to most in the next few weeks. I love Italian food and this is the best non-pasta centric book I’ve seen in a long time.