Gennaro Contaldo’s Slow Cook Italian

Beautiful, classic recipes made with passion, by the man who taught me everything I know about Italian cooking – Jamie Oliver


Slow Cooking is one of Gennaro’s favourite ways to cook: it’s simple, stress-free and allows you to get on with other things safe in the knowledge that slowly, slowly the stove-top or oven is doing its job. Stews and sauces bubble on the hob, a roast cooks in the oven with herbs gently infusing the meat, breads and cakes bake, all filling the house with mouth-watering smells and creating that special warmth which nothing else can.

A classic Italian cookbook and kitchen essential, Gennaro: Slow Cook Italian brings together more than 100 recipes for rich soups and stews, slow-cooked pasta sauces, braised meats, tender roasts, soft breads and sticky desserts and sweets. Unfussy, effortless and often inexpensive, the gutsy and sumptuous dishes are mostly quick to prepare, and let the oven or slow-cooker do the work – so that you don’t have to.

My thoughts:

I have always been drawn to the simplicity of Italian food.  There isn’t the need to have loads of ingredients.

This is what you will find with this cookbook.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Soups
  • Pasta
  • Light dishes & leftovers
  • Stews
  • Savoury bakes
  • Roasts & pot roasts
  • Breads
  • Cakes & desserts
  • Preserves

The first recipe that I was drawn to try was the Rosemary bread rolls.

Panini al rosmarino

Makes 12 rolls


500g ‘OO’ flour

1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast

7 g salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

250ml lukewarm water

needles from 4 sprigs of rosemary

a handful of coarse sea salt


In a bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt.  Add the olive oil and gradually add the water to form a dough.  Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Using your hands roll the dough into a large sausage shape about 2cm thick.  It may be easier to divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces before rolling.  Rub a little olive oil all over, sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt, slice into sausage shapes about 20cm long and wrap round in a coil.  Press lightly with the palm of your hand and place the rolls on a baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/ gas mark 6.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

This recipe is the first time that I have used ‘OO’ flour since moving to England.  We are lucky to have rosemary in our garden.

The kids also got involved in the mixing, kneading and rolling.

The rolls weren’t all uniform in size, but we all had fun in the process and that is the main thing after all – getting enjoyment out of cooking.

The taste test proved successful too.


Gennaro Contaldo was born in Minori on the Amalfi coast, where he first started helping in local restaurant kitchens at the age of eight. He came to Britain in the late 1960s and spent his first years travelling around the country, working in local village restaurants and studying wild food. He then came to London where he worked as a chef in a number of restaurants before opening the award-winning ‘Passione’.

He was the chef responsible for inspiring Jamie Oliver during the time when they had worked together at Carluccio’s. His quintessentially Italian spirit has made him a TV favourite and he still inspires us to cook authentic Italian food.  He has also maintained a working relationship with Jamie Oliver with his Jamie’s Italian chain of restaurants.

Gennaro lives in north-east London with his partner and their twin girls.

Disclaimer:  I received access to an ecopy of this book via NetGalley.  There were only excerpts from the recipe book, not the entire book.