Fantastico – Modern Italian Food by Gino D’Acampo – review

Fantastico – Modern Italian Food is Gino D’Acampo’s first book and it’s a fine one. The photography is superb, the recipes clear and the “hand-written” type used for the anecdotes before each recipe is very stylish. His comments are conversational and informal, which is the overall feel of this book.

Fantastico - Modern Italian Food

This lad makes me smile! He came to fame appearing on such TV shows as Ready Steady Cook, and An Italian in Mexico. He was Jeni Barnett’s “Italian stallion” in Good Food Live, although it’s evident that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, when he allows himself to be photographed for this book sprinkled with feathers.

This book is full of humour and very a refreshing change from the sometimes over-earnest cookbook offerings. The chapter headings give the first clue that this book is fun. How about: Something Fishy, Legs and Feathers and A Bit on the Side?

Fantastico is, for all that, a solid piece of work with great dishes that will not take you days to make. Gino D’Acampo encourages us to spend time buying the best ingredients and spend less time on the preparation. “If you are not in a good mood, don’t bother, get a takeaway.” That phrase alone will persuade half the population to buy this book!

The recipes are lovely but easy to prepare. Moroccan-style Pasta is a great example of Gino’s approach. It’s quick, easy, fresh and different. Neapolitan-style Meatloaf is simple and flavourful and would be a favourite meal for the kids.

Whole Baked Sea Bass Stuffed with Italian Salsa sounds a bit daunting but there are photographs to show you exactly how to prepare the fish. It’s one of Gino’s top five signature dishes. You can substitute salmon, sea bream or trout for the bass.

Gino has a selection of Sweet Things to die for. Limoncello and Plum Tart sounds divine and Gino gives us permission to use shop-bought pastry. Now, this is a man that lives in the real world! I could probably force down a slice or three of Italian Chocolate and Nut Cake, which has no flour.

There is a charming chapter called Say it with Food. Gino D’Acampo dedicates some favourite recipes to his friends and family and adds another element to this book which helps to makes it so warm and readable.

Fantastico is a gorgeous book and I look forward to seeing more from him in the future.

Fantastico – Modern Italian
Author: Gino D’Acampo
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Price: £ 14.99
ISBN 978-1-85626-744-1


See more books by Gino D’Acampo here


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018