A journey in taste with Antonio Carluccio
Italian food is hugely popular all over the world but celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio is keen to point out just how varied a menu there is from his home country.
The Italian has three restaurants in the UAE - Dubai Mall, Marina Mall and Mirdif City Centre - that offer delicious dishes in a family friendly setting.
Carluccio has spent the past 35 years living and working in Britain but recently returned to his home country with fellow chef Gennaro Contaldo to explore the regional varieties in cuisine for a book and second TV series of ‘Two Greedy Italians’.
He explains: “Every region likes to cook their own recipes made with locally grown ingredients according to a long history of food. It’s unbelievably varied.
“All the regions have influences coming from the states around it. For example, in the north you have Germanic influences and in Sicily the influences are the Arab countries. Every region has something special.”
You might think Carluccio would be keen to take a back seat and enjoy someone else’s cooking now he’s 75, but he has no plans to retire any time soon.
“The type of job and work I do is not for retiring because you will always eat, even when you are very, very old.
“Perhaps then I’ll suggest dishes to elderly people but it’s not the time yet. Because I have a passion for food, for me it’s not something I have to do. I do it because I want to do it and it’s fun.”
Try this tasty recipe from Carluccio’s latest book, ‘Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy’
Gamberoni e granchio con aglio e peperoncino
(King Prawns and Crab with Garlic and Chilli)
>> 175ml extra virgin olive oil
>> 12 fresh raw king prawns, with shells still on
>> 6 garlic cloves, sliced lengthways
>> 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
>> Fresh crab meat from 2 large crabs, in chunks
>> A handful of flat-leaf parsley
>> 250ml white wine (optional)
>>1 lemon, cut into wedges
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the king prawns and cook for two minutes, turning once. Add garlic, chilli and crab meat, season with salt, then reduce the heat and cook for a couple of minutes with the lid on. Add the parsley, increase the heat and add the wine and reserved juices from the crab meat if you have any. Bubble until evaporated, then serve immediately with lemon wedges and country bread to mop up the juices.