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Italian

Mozzarella in carrozza

Mozzarella in carrozza

This classic Italian sandwich, which literally means ‘mozzarella in a carriage’, makes a tasty and very quick vegetarian meal. Chopped sun–dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves enhance the flavour of the cheese, which melts on cooking to a wonderful oozing texture.

Gruyre gougre with ratatouille

Gruyère gougère with ratatouille

Many cooks won't attempt to make a gougère, which is a choux pastry ring, because they think it's too difficult. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Choux pastry is very simple to make, and it can be prepared ahead – shape the gougère and bake just before serving.

Lentil risotto

Lentil risotto

Lentils add extra flavour and texture to this Italian–style mushroom risotto and also make it more nutritious. Serve with roasted or chargrilled Italian vegetables, such as capsicums and zucchini, or a mixed salad, for a satisfying lunch, and one that is particularly tempting on a cold winter's day.

Gnocchi with sage and cinnamon

Gnocchi with sage and cinnamon

An Italian classic, traditional semolina gnocchi is served with generous amounts of cheese and butter. This healthier but equally delicious version is made with just a little butter, cheese and oil and flavoured with cinnamon and sage. Served with spinach and peas, it makes a great meal.

Herb-infused eggplant lasagne

Herb-infused eggplant lasagne

Eggplants make delicious lasagne, but traditional methods usually involve slicing and frying them in copious quantities of oil. Here, they are cubed and simmered with flavouring ingredients to make a rich, zesty sauce.

Mushroom ravioli in herb jus

Mushroom ravioli in herb jus

Bought stuffed pasta just do not taste anything like silken–textured homemade pasta with a freshly prepared savoury filling. This is not a convenience meal – making pasta does take time – but the result is a marvellous dish, to savour and enjoy on the weekend.

Chicken and rosemary cobbler

Chicken and rosemary cobbler

This deep–dish pie has an Italian–style filling of succulent chunks of chicken, sliced capsicums, mushrooms and black olives in a tomato sauce, and is topped with fresh rosemary scone wedges. A crunchy raw vegetable salad would be a good accompaniment to complete the meal.

Calzone with roast capsicums

Calzone with roast capsicums

Calzone is a bit like an Italian version of a Cornish pasty, but with the tasty filling sealed inside pizza dough rather than pastry. This recipe combines diced chicken with olives, roast capsicums, fresh basil and mozzarella to make an ideal snack for a packed lunch or picnic.

Fish and Potato Hotpot

Fish and Potato Hotpot

This simple, vegetable-laden stew comes with some added extras – a dollop of yogurt on top and toasty croutons to give a tangy crunch to every lovely mouthful.

Easy Minestrone

Easy Minestrone

Here’s a tip from Italian cooks: there are really no hard-and-fast rules or secret ingredients when it comes to making minestrone, so long as it contains beans, pasta and an abundance of vegetables.

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