raspberry granita recipe

24 hours of eating Italian: deli-inspired recipes to take you from breakfast to dinner

Posted by for Food and Drink

From ’nduja baked eggs to raspberry granita, these new recipes by Michelin-starred chef Theo Randall highlight the joys of Italian delis. 

As much as we’ve enjoyed playing MasterChef over the last year, there have also been times when our approach to meals has been a bit more Ready Steady Cook: staring into our fridge/freezer/store cupboards and knocking something up based on whatever we find in there. Occasionally, this has resulted in questionable concoctions – but it can also be surprisingly satisfying.

The key to nailing this improvisational approach to cooking? Simple techniques and excellent ingredients. According to Theo Randall, the British chef who won a Michelin star at The River Café in London, Italians are particularly good at this kind of instinctive cooking – mainly because of the magic of Italian delis.

A feast both for your senses and your Instagram feed, the ingredients found on Italian deli shelves make every store cupboard infinitely richer. And as Randall explains in his new book The Italian Deli Cookbook (£26, Quadrille), the simplest among them – such as good quality olives, dried pastas and proper passata – can utterly transform your meals.

The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall
The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall is out now with Quadrille

Below, Randall shares five deli-inspired recipes that will enable you to eat nothing but Italian food for 24 hours, should you desire. (Not lucky enough to have an Italian deli near you? Check out online shops such as Fratelli Camisa, Delicatezza and Lina Stores instead.) Kick things off with his ‘nduja baked eggs with slow-cooked peppers and onions, a vibrant breakfast dish that will get any day off to a good start.

If you’re feeling bored of your go-to WFH lunches, try the bruschette – a nourishing mix of courgette, olives, rocket and ricotta, piled high on garlic-rubbed sourdough toast.

And if you’ve got time to prepare a leisurely three-course dinner, you could do much worse than starting with Randall’s Genoan-inspired pesto trofie, a pasta dish featuring new potatoes and fine green beans.

For your main course, move onto the roasted lamb rump with polenta and creamy olive and anchovy sauce – before finishing off with a jewel-bright raspberry and moscato granita. Buon appetito!

  • ’Nduja baked eggs with red peppers and onions

    ’nduja baked eggs with red peppers and onions recipe
    Italian recipes: Theo Randall's ’nduja baked eggs with red peppers and onions

    Theo says: “Slow-cooked peppers are really tasty – add ’nduja and they become amazing. Peppers vary a lot – the large, knobbly Italian and Spanish ones available in the spring and summer are by far the best. (The perfectly formed rounded ones are okay, but can be a bit watery.) 

    “Cook them slowly so that they caramelise, softening the skins and increasing the intensity of their flavour. Just a little cooking and some good bread are all you need.”

    Serves 2–4

    Ingredients

    • 3 red peppers, halved and deseeded
    • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
    • 2 red onions, sliced
    • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 100g ’nduja
    • 4 organic eggs
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 large ciabatta loaf, sliced and toasted, to serve

    Method

    Place the peppers cut sides downwards on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, slice them across into 5mm slices.

    Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the sliced peppers, garlic and red onions and season with salt. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

    Remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, until the peppers are sticky and softened. Add the chopped parsley and ’nduja and cook for 5 minutes.

    Make 4 small indents in the mixture, spacing them evenly around the pan, then, one by one, break the eggs into the indents. 

    Place the lid on the pan and cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes, or until the whites of the eggs have set, but the yolks are still runny. Season the eggs with black pepper and a little more salt.

    Serve with toasted ciabatta, drizzled with olive oil.

  • Courgette, olive and ricotta salata bruschette

    courgette, olive and ricotta salata bruschette recipe
    Italian recipes: Theo Randall's courgette, olive and ricotta salata bruschette

    Theo says: “My favourite bread for bruschette is pagnotta, a Puglian sourdough-type bread made using 100% fine semolina flour. It’s easy to find in delis these days – look out for Crosta & Mollica Pane Pugliese, which is excellent.

    “If you live near Wimbledon in the UK, you must visit my friend Rocco Tanzarella, who owns La Bottega del Pane, the best Italian bakery in England. His pagnotta is as good as any in Puglia’s Altamura and his shop is full of everything you wish you had brought back from Italy. As for Rocco himself, you will not be disappointed…”

    Serves 4 as a snack

    Ingredients

    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced, plus 1 clove, halved, for rubbing the toast
    • 4 courgettes, halved lengthways, then cut into 1cm half-moons
    • 6 basil leaves
    • 4 large slices of pagnotta semolina bread or good sourdough, toasted
    • 100g Taggiasca olives, pitted and finely chopped
    • juice of ½ unwaxed lemon
    • 30g wild rocket, mixed with 1 tsp good olive oil
    • 50g ricotta salata
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and courgettes and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir, increase the heat to full and leave for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, until the courgettes are caramelised and a bit mushy.

    Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.

    Tear half the basil leaves into rough pieces and stir them into the courgettes. Check the seasoning, adding black pepper as needed. Set aside.

    Take the four slices of toast and rub with the halved garlic clove. Place the toast on a serving plate.

    Place the chopped olives in a bowl. Finely chop the remaining basil leaves and stir them through the olives with the lemon juice and remaining olive oil, to form a paste. Spread the paste equally over the slices of toast and divide the cooked courgettes on top. Scatter over the dressed rocket leaves and finish with shavings of ricotta salata.

  • Trofie with pesto, potatoes and green beans

    pasta with pesto, potatoes and green beans recipe
    Italian recipes: Theo Randall's trofie with pesto, potatoes and green beans

    Theo says: “This Ligurian classic originates from Genoa, the home of pesto. Trofie pasta can be difficult to find, but the chewy texture makes such a difference.

    “Every year in March, I buy 10 pots of basil from my local deli and plant them in two huge garden tubs. I water them every day. They grow very quickly and become plump and lush within six weeks. When they are ready, I cut the plant, pick off all the leaves, give them a good wash and make some pesto. The crop usually yields a couple of litres, which I freeze in single-meal portions.”

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 8 new potatoes, peeled and very finely sliced on a mandolin
    • 150g fine green beans, topped, tailed and halved
    • 500g trofie
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the pesto:

    • 1 small garlic clove
    • 100g basil leaves, roughly chopped
    • 75g pine nuts
    • 75g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
    • 150ml olive oil

    Method

    First, make the pesto. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with a good pinch of sea salt to fine paste. Add the basil leaves and crush until the leaves become a pulp. Add the pine nuts and crush again to a paste, then add the grated parmesan and 2 tablespoons of water.

    Mix to combine, then slowly stir in the olive oil. Set aside.

    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the potatoes for 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Boil the green beans in the water for 3 minutes, then remove and set aside.

    Add the pasta to the water and cook for 2 minutes less than the packet cooking time. Take the pasta out with a slotted spoon and place in a non-stick frying pan with 1 ladleful of the cooking water (reserve the remaining water in case you need it).

    Add the potatoes and green beans to the frying pan with the trofie pasta, and 1 tablespoonful of the pesto. Move the pan around vigorously to coat the pasta in the sauce, then cook on a low heat for about 2 minutes, until the pasta seems syrupy (if it seems a little dry, add more of the cooking water). 

    Stir in 2 more generous tablespoons of pesto then divide between warmed bowls. Sprinkle with a good grinding of black pepper and a little extra parmesan.

  • Roasted lamb rump with polenta and creamy olive and anchovy sauce

    italian roast lamb recipe with polenta and olive & anchovy sauce
    Italian recipes: Theo Randall's roasted lamb with polenta and olive and anchovy sauce

    Theo says: “Heating up olives softens them and in the process releases their amazing and intense flavour. This sauce is lovely with most things, but really good with polenta and greens.”

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    For the lamb:

    • pared zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
    • 4 x 180g lamb rumps
    • 1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and roughly chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, quartered
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the soft polenta:

    • 250g coarse polenta (not quick cook)
    • 3 tbsp good olive oil
    • 1 tsp sea salt

    For the olive and anchovy sauce:

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
    • 4 salted anchovies in oil, drained and chopped
    • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 100g Taggiasca or niçoise olives, pitted and chopped
    • 100ml crème fraîche or double cream

    For the purple sprouting broccoli:

    • 600g purple-sprouting broccoli, trimmed
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced

    Method

    Marinate the lamb rumps. Place the pared lemon zest and juice in a bowl. Add the lamb, rosemary and garlic, then cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, turning the rumps in the marinade a few times during the hour. Then, add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas Mark 4.

    Make the polenta. Pour 1 litre of water into a saucepan. Place over a high heat and, when the water comes to the boil, very gradually whisk in the polenta. Once you have added all the polenta, reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes, until it no longer sticks to the side of the pan. Add the olive oil and salt and leave to one side to keep warm.

    Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic, anchovies and parsley. Cook gently for 2 minutes, then add the olives, cook for 1 minute, then add the cream. Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Leave to one side to keep warm.

    For the broccoli, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the broccoli, including any leaves, and bring back to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and drain, keeping the hot pan. 

    Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced garlic to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Add the broccoli, and cook for 10 minutes, until broken up slightly. 

    Check the seasoning and add a tablespoon of water and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to coat, and leave to one side to keep warm.

    Cook the lamb. Pat off the marinade residue from the lamb using kitchen paper. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Seal the lamb rumps, turning to brown on all sides (this should take 4 minutes).

    Place the lamb rumps fat-sides downwards in the pan then roast in the oven for 8 minutes. With a meat thermometer, check that the middle of the lamb is 45°C for a lovely pink piece of meat, then remove from the oven. Turn them over a couple of times and leave in the pan to rest.

    To serve, spoon the polenta onto a serving dish then top with broccoli.

    Against the grain, slice each lamb rump in to 3 slices and place on top of the broccoli and polenta. Pour over the sauce and serve immediately.

  • Raspberry and moscato d’Asti granita

    raspberry granita recipe
    Italian recipes: Theo Randall's raspberry granita

    Theo says: “This easy granita is perfect and you don’t need an ice-cream machine. You could use other fruit – strawberries, plums, peaches, mango or pineapple all work well. Just make sure you have really good-quality, ripe fruit and make it in smallish quantities to eat on the day.”

    Serves 6

    Ingredients

    • 200g caster sugar
    • 600g frozen raspberries
    • 375ml moscato d’Asti, plus optional extra to serve

    Method

    First, make the syrup – this will need to chill overnight. Place the sugar and 300ml of water in a saucepan on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and reached a syrupy consistency. Take off the heat, allow to cool a little, then store in the fridge overnight.

    To make the granita, place the frozen raspberries in a food processor with 200ml of the chilled sugar syrup (discard the remainder).

    Process for 2 minutes to combine, then add the wine little by little, blending between each addition. Once you’ve added all the wine, lend for a further 2 minutes to fully combine. 

    Transfer the mixture to an airtight freezerproof container and freeze for 2 hours (place your serving glasses in the freezer at the same time).

    To serve, take out the granita 15 minutes before you want to serve it.

    Take your glasses out of the freezer and use a spoon to scoop out the granita to fill. Top with a little more moscato d’Asti, if you wish.

    From The Italian Deli Cookbook: 100 Glorious Recipes Celebrating the Best of Italian Ingredients by Theo Randall (£26, Quadrille), out now

Photography: Lizzie Mayson

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