Southern feast

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Burrata with marinated grilled aubergines for 2


Orecchiette with ‘nduja, red onion & tomatoes for 2


Cannoli Siciliani for 2

There is an argument, that Northerners will argue against to the death, that the South is Italy. It is a tenuous one – Italy is the union of 20 states that became the 20 regions, and each has an equal part in the genesis and identity of today’s country. But Italian food – as we know it today – comes in great part from cucina povera – from the tables of the poor. And even today, financially, the South is indeed poor.

Wealth is not measured only in currency – and whilst the Southerners begrudge the North’s affluence (and the North that the South spends more taxes than it generates), the South is the garden of Italy – where a disproportionate amount of the food comes from. Whilst  fine wines for export come disproportionally from the Centre and the North, the South makes wines everyone can enjoy. There is a pride, and a warmth, and a welcome in the South. It is the land of olives and chillis and humble pastas and tomatoes: of sunshine.


The timing of this feast is easy. The detailed recipes are here, but in essence:

  • The burrata can be plated ahead of your meal, or as you sit down (it only takes a moment)
  • The orecchiette will take 10 minutes to prepare. Put a pot of well-salted water on to boil before you sit down to your antipasto (or if you’re nervous, bring it to a boil beforehand and leave it just below simmering, on the lowest flame, while you eat the first course). Put the orecchiette on to boil as you clear the plates from the burrata – a 10 minute gap between courses is perfect
  • The cannoli are most forgiving. You can fill them yourself before serving the antipasto (and leave them in the fridge until you serve them), or prepare simply by decanting the ricotta cream and ground pistachios into bowls, to bring to the table for a DIY filling experience, after the pasta course has been cleared.

ENJOY – having said the South is the vineyard for humble wines, there are also a great number of very, very fine ones grown here. Choose a bottle that suits your aspirations – aristocrat or socialist, find a wine that suits your philosophy