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Italian Food Safari With Maeve O’Meara And Guy Grossi

December 1st, 2010

I love looking through cook books, there is just something comforting about them. Not only do they look great, they are informative and more then anything, they tell a story about the person that has written it.

I’ve come across many cook books, but one has stood out most to me. Italian Food Safari by Maeve O’Meara with Guy Grossi – both absolute geniuses in the kitchen. This time the geniuses are working together in an Italian kitchen.

With the most rustically charming photography of food straight from your Nonna’s kitchen, nothing can get more authentic and more mouth watering then what you will see when you open this book. The cracked and chipped crockery, the 15 year old baking tray for lasagne, the antique cutlery, visiting your grandparents as a child, all of what growing up in a European family is about. Not only do you salivate looking at the photos, you also feel emotions and they strike memories. At least it did for me growing up in a Spanish household.

“To be born into the Italian realm is to be part of a lifetime feast – an existence punctuated by the best produce of the season prepared with love and passion.”

Set around Australia and covering the four seasons, Italian Food Safari introduces you to the concrete backyards full of abundant tomato and basil plants, the cosy home kitchens where masterpieces are whipped up, the elegant restaurants filled with delicious cooking aromas, the specialist providores and extensive delis, bakeries, cheese-makers and pasticcerias. Some of the world’s most celebrated Italian culinary masterpieces feature alongside beautiful rustic family favourites.

In addition, Guy Grossi shares some of his family’s most revered recipes for traditional favourites from the North to the South of Italy. Italian Food Safari celebrates all the extraordinary wealth of Italian culture– the pioneering families building their wood-fired ovens, growing much of their produce in the early days and keeping food at the centre of family life, a tradition we all treasure.

There is nothing more pleasing and nothing more perfect to give your Mum, your Dad, your grandparents or yourself this Christmas. This is just perfect.

Stay tuned each week as I tantilise your taste buds with a recipe from Italian Food Safari each week till Christmas.




200g fresh pappardelle

Splash of extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

1 teaspoon of chopped sage, majoram or thyme leaves

2 medium slippery jack mushrooms, sponge removed and sliced roughly

2 medium pine mushrooms, sliced roughly

150ml white wine

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano


Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. While you wait, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the garlic with the sage, marjoram or thyme. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the pappardelle to the boiling water and cook until al dente (fresh pasta should not take more then 3 or 4 minutes).

Add the wine to the mushrooms and let it reduce for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. When the pasta is ready, drain it, reserving some cooking water, and stir into the mushroom sauce, heating together briefly. Add the butter and a little of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and parmigiano reggiano.

Serves 2.