Like many Kiwis I adore Italian food. I’ve scoffed countless slices of pizza and bowls of tiramisu, quaffed more prosecco than I probably should, and slathered pesto on anything I could lay my hands on. I’ve even taught hundreds of homecooks how to make pasta and risotto.
But for all my love of Italian cuisine, I’d never made it to Italy until a few weeks ago. How did I wait that long? The abundance of delicious cured meats, seafood, cheese, gelato, bread, pastries and produce was inspiring, and I certainly ate my share. Someone else who was invigorated by a recent trip to Italy was irrepressible Kiwi chef Simon Gault, who in this issue discusses his passions and latest projects with us.
However, lovely as international travel is, it does also make you appreciate home, and the comfort of creating favourites in your own kitchen. True Italian food is the food of home cooks, seasonal by necessity and relatively simple. So for our Italian issue we have captured the essence of this fabulous cuisine with fresh ingredients and big flavours, but with our own twists – such as our updates on pasta dishes on page 42, and our clever new ways with pizza on page 52. We’re also aware of how invaluable a good classic recipe is, so don’t miss our risotto tutorial on page 70 and our guide to making perfect fresh pasta on page 116. You really don’t need a passport to enjoy a great Italian meal. All that’s required is a good extra virgin olive oil, fresh ingredients, a sprinkle of parmesan and lashings of love. Enjoy!