This is the second book by Gino D’Acampo. His first, Fantastico, won the Gourmand Cookbook Award for the Best Italian Cookbook in the World. It’s safe to say that the lad described as the Italian Stallion by UKTV Food’s irreplaceable Jeni Barnett has a good idea about what makes a popular cookbook.
Buonissimo is the latest offering from this young man. He has, I must admit, a certain sexy charm. He has that tee-shirted, designer-stubbled, southern look which some women find so attractive… OK, OK, so he decorates his books very well, but I’ll drag myself away and focus on the food.
This is a stylish volume with photography by Kate Whitaker who does a lovely job as usual. It presents recipes for just one person, a romantic couple, everyday suppers, easy but impressive recipes, and party food. Gino introduces some personal notes that add a little insight into the character of this man – a family man who appreciates the need for comforting meals for kids as well as classy dishes for formal evenings.
The recipes reflect modern tastes as you would expect from a young chef, but he is mindful of time constraints. There are plenty that are Italian in concept but others that are more international, like Curried Beans and Hot and Spicy Chick Peas. The book is no worse for those inclusions. This is, after all, the fashion of British eating.
It’s difficult to choose just a couple of recipes to illustrate the style of Buonissimo. The dishes are diverse but delicious with an unfussy, non-chefy look. Roasted Onions in Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar are a traditional antipasti or a smart side dish for roast meats.
I enjoy both cooking and eating risotto of any kind, and Gino D’Acampo has a great example here: Risotto with Parma Ham and Vin Santo. You can substitute the Vin Santo with another medium white wine. This dish is not difficult to make but I think it’s good enough as a meal for friends at the weekend.
Limoncello and Lime Granita is a stunner! Any make-ahead recipe gets lots of points from me. Gino suggests this as a palate-cleanser between savoury courses. I’d be happy with this at the end of a rich or heavy meal or even just as a refreshing interlude on a hot (it could happen) summer afternoon.
Perhaps I should end by mentioning Gino’s Playboy Eggs! It’s got your imagination working but I’ll tell you that it’s just a cheeky name for a trendy breakfast of eggs, bacon, mushrooms and cheese. Served in a cup as Gino recommends, this would make a very special late morning snack. Perhaps that should have been included in the Romantico Chapter!
Buonissimo is bound to be as successful as Fantastico. Both the food and the author look great!
Author: Gino D’Acampo
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018