A few weeks ago, I reviewed (here) one of the new Dallaglio for Sacla pasta sauces. I have to admit, I was initially dubious and thought that splashing pictures of an international rugby star all over jars of pasta sauce was just a callous marketing ploy targetting the easily-led men wandering around the supermarket aisles ! But I had to admit, it was delicious so I was really intrigued and enthusiastic when asked if I'd like to review a new cookbook, created by the former England rugby captain in association with Sacla.
It turns out that rugby isn't the only passion in the Dallaglio family household. Lawrence Dallaglio and his father, Vincenzo, share a passion for real Italian food and this comes across in the delicious but accessible recipes in the book, which reveals the fave recipes from both the Dallaglio and the Sacla families. The Dallaglio family roots are in Piedmont, north west Italy, where the Sacla' family business is also based, so they both have a lot in common. The recipes cover three generations of the Dallaglio family so you can try them out safe in the knowledge that they've been tried and tested and loving tweaked to perfection over that time.
Now, I have to admit, I have a lot of recipe books in my collection but nothing much solely focusing on Italian cuisine. I always assumed that Italian food could be largely reduced to pizza and pasta where the guiding principle is "just throw in whatever you've got in the fridge and top with lashings of fresh parmesan" (or maybe that's just in our house !). But again, like the jar of pasta sauce, I was pleasantly surprised.
The photos - which are really important in a recipe book because they're what will make you actually get out your pots and pans and try them out - will have you salivating and I love the fact that the recipes, while being innovative and original, are really simple to make, often using store-cupboard basics.
If you want a quick idea, here's one of the recipes from the book :
Polpette alla diavola - meatballs with Diavola Sauce
(Photo from My Italian Family Cookbook by Lawrence Dallaglio published by Simon& Schuster Illustrated May 2011.)
500g lean beef mince
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 tbsp freshly chopped basil
4 spring onions, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little olive oil
300g jar Dallaglio by Sacla’ Diavola sauce
400g penne pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
Put the mince in a bowl with the herbs, spring onions, lemon zest, breadcrumbs and cinnamon. Mix it all together and season well.
Take walnut-sized pieces of the mince and roll into balls. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the meatballs lightly until golden.
Heat the sauce in a pan and add the meatballs.
Meanwhile, cook the penne in the boiling water until al dente.
Add a ladleful of pasta water to the sauce and meatballs - this will loosen the mixture and help bring all the flavours together.
Drain the pasta well. Return it to the pan and add the meatballs and sauce. Toss everything together. Divide among four bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.
You might also like to know that you can click here to receive a coupon for 50p off a jar of Dallaglio by Sacla’ pasta sauce and here to enter a competition to win 20 copies of the book.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £18.99 (but only £9.50 on amazon at the moment)
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