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Antonio Carluccio webchat, Weds 7 May, midday to 1pm.

(77 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 01-May-14 13:57:25

On Weds (7 May) we're welcoming Antonio Carluccio to Mumsnet HQ at midday for a webchat. The undisputed godfather of Italian food, Carluccio has just published his latest and 18th cookery book, Antonio Carluccio's Pasta.

Antonio has lived in London since 1975 where he moved to set up and run the Neal Street restaurant and later his successful chain of Carluccio's restaurants. In 1998 he was awarded the title of Commendatore by decree of the President of italy for his knowledge and enthusiasm and lifetime's service to the Italian food industry and in 2007 was awarded an OBE.

Carluccio says of his latest book ?The most important thing that I would like to give you all is a taste of the experience, love and passion I possess, which will help to make it easy for you to reproduce some of these pasta dishes for yourself. I won?t be upset if, in some cases, you may use more or less of my suggested ingredients. I would, however, be a little ?hurt? if you added garlic and oregano to a Bolognese sauce.?

Come and join Antonio and find out why he's upset by the thought of garlic in bolognese sauce on Wednesday at midday or if you're unable to join us then, post a question in advance on this thread. Everyone who joins will be entered into a draw to win a signed copy of his latest book. You can also try a couple of Carluccio's pasta recipes from the new book here.

RabbitsarenotHares Wed 07-May-14 18:41:20

Am sorry to have missed this.

Is there any chance you could pass on my appreciation of the staff at the St Pancras' restaurant? I had about 4 hours at the station last year between coming off the Caledonian Sleeper and catching Eurostar. I had masses of luggage with me and was too tired to bother putting them in storage and go anywhere, so went to Carluccio's for breakfast and to consider my options.

They were WONDERFUL! Made me feel so welcome, were more than happy to let me stay there the whole time and read, and had to be persuaded to let me spend money (I bought breakfast and lunch, as well as multiple cups of coffee). Probably not what Antonio wants to hear in a way, but honestly, because of how lovely they were I now go back every time I'm there.

So if you could pass my thanks on I'd be grateful.

imustbepatient Wed 07-May-14 17:15:30

Drat that I missed this webchat. I love Carluccios Restaurants and would be ridiculously happy if one were to open in Woking. Please!

One of the things I miss about living in London is Carluccios. [salivates quietly]

LadySybilLikesCake Wed 07-May-14 17:00:37

grin grin Thank you! thanks cake

I'm going to have to get a pasta machine now (yipee!)

AtYourCervix Wed 07-May-14 16:54:28

Did he say he'd come gor tea? Do I need to hoover?

AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-May-14 16:45:17

Thanks to everyone for posting your questions to Antonio Carluccio in today's webchat. Congrats to LadySybilLikesCake who wins a SIGNED copy of his new book Antonio Carluccio's Pasta. We will be in touch via pm on how to claim your prize.

Mignonette Wed 07-May-14 14:50:22

They sound great Antonio!

I am most definitely going to buy your book just for that recipe. Thank you so much.

JazzAnnNonMouse Wed 07-May-14 14:14:02

Thank you - I've always used both but thought I must've been doing it wrong - it was Gino d campo

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-May-14 13:22:19

Antonio's had to leave us but says ciao and that he had a lovely time answering your questions. He was impressed with our array of biscuit and even more so with the new Mumsnet cookbook, Top Bananas.

Don't forget to try out two of the recipes from Antonio's new book

NipperSkipper Wed 07-May-14 13:12:43

Aaah - but of course! smile

Allalonenow Wed 07-May-14 13:05:21

Amore to you too Antonio!! xx

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 07-May-14 13:01:58

Oh I agree. <swoons a little at being answered>

Fusion food is rank. Very Emperor's New Clothes/Mastercheffy. grin

AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-May-14 13:01:32

Hi there, click here to try two of Antonio's delicious pasta recipes from his new book: Spelt spaghetti with sausage sauce, and the vegetarian pasta with courgettes and spinach balls (mentioned earlier). grin Buon Appetito!

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 13:01:30


What is the 'added' ingredients that can make a meal truly Italian? Or is it just the climate, culture, history.....etc?!

Amore! ;)

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 13:01:05


Hi Antonio, another big fan here and I am looking forward to getting a copy of your new book. I love italian food but I'd love to experiment a bit more. At the moment I do lots of baked pasta dishes and enjoy cooking risotto but would love to use polenta and gnocchi. Can you suggest a couple of dishes to get me started - do you prefer to make gnocchi from potatoes or flour and eggs?

I make it with potato, flour and eggs. 800gs of puréed potatoes, 200g of flour and one egg, mix it all together and then make a sausage shape (about 1 inch diameter), then cut it in1 inch sections. And then I let it go on a fork to make small holes. Easy!

And boil for about 15 seconds in salted water, in 15 seconds they come to the surface and they're cooked!

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:58:01


I am completely in love with Sardinia and its food. Do you have a favourite recipe? And have you ever cooked with Pane Carasau? I want to make something with it.

My favourite I cooked with Zola in the middle of Stanford Bridge. Sardinian raviol filled up with potato and cheese and mint. They are called curlurzones. And they are plaited (they are featured in my book).

Atbeckandcall Wed 07-May-14 12:57:09

Molte grazie Antonio! I think I'll try putting it in zabaglione and make a syrup for polenta cake with it. Curare, ciao! X

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:56:46


My Italian chef handsome swain (who is chuntering away answering all of the above questions but I shall sit on him and not let him steal Antonio's limelight wink) wants to know why, generally speaking, Italian restaurants in the UK (present company excepted of course!) just aren't.

For example, he always orders a carbonara when in the UK, as an acid test of whether it's a "real" Italian or not. (it invariably isn't)

Is there some reason do you think, why Italian chefs/restaurateurs think the British palate can't cope with a "real" Italian? Have we become too "internationalised" and need our carbonara to have cream and mushrooms in it? shock

And a sneaky invite, when you are next in Puglia, pop in and I'll whip you up some orecchiette con le cime di rape! smile

The big handicap of the British is that for a long time (during the industrial revolution etc) they were concentrating on sandwiches and things like that. But in the last 30 years, something is changing through books and TV. However, the choice of ethnic cuisine (80 different types in London) causes confusion about how to cook it.

I suggest that when you eat Italian you cook pure Italian food, and the same for Chinese or any other cuisine. Fusion food creates confusion - mozzarella with lemongrass is not good.

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:53:50


I am not around for the web chat, so here is my question. Italian food is one of our family favourites, but one of the things I struggle with is how to cook pasta properly al dente. Is there a knack to it? If so, I would love to know what it is! Many thanks.

I have 13 tips on this (there is a code in my pasta book).

The MOST important thing is the right quantity of water for the right quantity of pasta - 100g pasta for 1l of water, this allows for the right amount of starch released.

The second most important is 10g of salt per litre of water, and you put the pasta in once the water is boiling - but you put the salt BEFORE.

And NEVER wash pasta under the tap.

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:52:13


Salve Signor Carluccio,

Come stai?

I love Stega liquor, but other than drinking it with ice or in espresso, what else can I do with it?

Vi ringrazio in anticipo

Un sacco do amore!

The translation of Strega is 'witch' - that is why on the bottle there is a witch on broom. It can be put in cocktails, it's a very old liquor from the south of Italy. You can put a little shot of it on a fruit salad - and you can get pissed with it!

You can add the flavour to many desserts and biscuits.

LadySybilLikesCake Wed 07-May-14 12:50:43

smile Thank you. I'm sure he can manage that. He's told me to tell you that he loves your restaurant grin

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:50:17


Hello Antonio

My fathers family come from southern Italy (Ravello) and we all adore your recipes and tv programmes. May I ask which part of Italy you come from, and whether you think any particular area produces the best food? crosses fingers you say the Amalfi coast

This webchat is making my mouth water, I have plans for some Gnocchi making this weekend to satisfy my appetite!

Thank you.

It's a matter of fact that by pure chance I was born on the Amalfi coast, down the road from you in Vietri sul mare. But I didn't grow up there (only until 7 months). However, I must admit, in my heart the cuisine of the entire campagne is very, very good. But I love the food of all the twenty regions of Italy.

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:47:36


Ooh, hello. DP would like to know the secret to a really good, but simple, tomato sauce for pasta? We can never get the right flavour, and he's vegetarian, so my 'just chuck some bacon in' method doesn't work any more blush

Also the vege anti pasti is awesome.

The best is to have a tomato plant in your garden - let them ripen to optimum and then make the sauce with that! However, even Italians use a great deal of tinned tomatoes, the reason being that those tomatoes have been collected when they were ripe so less acidity. And, never put sugar in your tomatoes! You can add garlic (and oregano if you are making a pizzaiola sauce.) Pizzaiola is named after the wife of the inventor of the pizza.

You can also add a sauce like this to steak - a la pizzaiola.

A little trick is to add a little bit of tomato purée if you are making a thin sauce. In Sicily you can get 6x concentrated tomato - spread on toast with garlic and olive oil it is wonderful.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 07-May-14 12:44:34

Oh. DH doesn't like courgettes sad

AntonioCarluccio Wed 07-May-14 12:44:08


My son is almost old enough to start weaning, and I'd like to introduce as many Italian flavours as possible to reflect his heritage. What dishes do you think should be on his first menu?

Pesto! A bomb of taste and flavours. Made with basil, garlic, pine kernels, olive oil and parmesan or pecorino.

Atbeckandcall Wed 07-May-14 12:44:03

Strega not stega!

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