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3 Great Italian Dishes You Need To Cook At Home

Italian food is without a doubt one of the most popular types of cuisine around the world, with an Italian restaurant in just about every town you come across. And if you don’t want to go out to eat and spend the money, it’s also really easy and enjoyable to cook it at home!

We spoke to Bella Cosa, a restaurant in Canary Wharf that serves up authentic Italian fayre to see whether they had any suggestions for dishes that you should try your hand at if you love Italian food but want to ignore those texts from takeaways and whip up something yourself instead!

Classic pizza Margherita

Ingredients:

Base:

300g flour (strong bread flour is best)

200ml warm water

1 teaspoon of instant yeast

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Sauce:

100ml passata

A handful of fresh basil

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

Toppings:

125g mozzarella

A handful of shaved/grated parmesan

A handful of chopped cherry tomatoes

A handful of fresh basil

Method:

Preheat your oven to 240C (220C for fan, or gas mark 8)

Stir together the flour, salt and yeast, make a well in the dry mixture and then pour in the warm water and olive oil. Mix this all together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft dough, and then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.

Cover your dough with a tea towel and set it aside.

Mix the passata, basil, and garlic together and season it with salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

Separate your dough into two balls, then roll each ball out on a floured surface. The dough will rise in the oven, so try to get it really thin. Place your dough rounds onto floured baking sheets.

Put a baking sheet into the oven on the top shelf to preheat while you prepare the toppings. Spread some sauce over each base, and then cover with the toppings as desired, but set the fresh basil aside for later. Drizzle the olive oil over and season, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes on the preheated baking sheet.

Once the pizzas are ready to take out of the oven, garnish them with the fresh basil and serve!

Italian stuffed chicken

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of chopped olives

1 tablespoon of chopped sundried tomatoes

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

½ teaspoon of dried mixed herbs

200g soft cheese

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 ripe tomatoes, sliced

Olive oil (for drizzling)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 220C (200C for fan, or gas mark 7)

Beat the olives, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and most of the herbs together with the soft cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut each chicken breast along one side to form a pocket and stuff each breast with a quarter of the mixture and press them closed.

Place your chicken breasts onto a greased baking tray, season the chicken, and arrange the sliced tomatoes on the top of each chicken breast. Scatter the remaining herbs across the chicken breasts and drizzle them with olive oil, then roast in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the chicken is golden.

Serve with a side salad.

Spinach and feta cannelloni

Ingredients:

4 sheets of lasagne

1kg of spinach, wilted

200g of feta cheese

A generous pinch of grated nutmeg

A large handful of chopped olives

1 tablespoon of capers

400g chopped tomatoes

25g of grated parmesan

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C (180C fan, or gas mark 6)

Place the sheets of lasagne in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for five minutes.

Mix the spinach, feta and nutmeg together and season. Drain the pasta, cut each sheet in half, and spoon the filling into the centre of each one, then roll up. Place the cannelloni into a lightly oiled baking dish.

Mix together the olives, capers and tomatoes with a little seasoning. Spoon them over the cannelloni and sprinkle the parmesan over the top. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.