3 Italian Recipes From Big Mamma Group’s Cookbook

By Ellie Smith

1 month ago

The beloved Italian restaurant group shares some of its signatures


Big Mamma Group is the team behind some of London’s most beloved Italian restaurants – from Gloria to the most recent addition, Carlotta. They’re renowned for their OTT, uber-Instagrammable interiors and, most importantly, their decadent, fun Italian fare: think giant bowls of pasta, cheese wheels and gelato towers. And now, the restaurant group has shared some of its signature recipes in a brand-new cookbook, Big Mamma: Italian Recipes in 30 Minutes: Shower Time Included. As the name suggests, they’re quick to make too – all can be made within 30 minutes. Here are three to try at home.

Big Mamma Group Recipes

Big Caprese Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

Serves 4

Big caprese

Ingredients:

  • 4 buffalo mozzarellas (125g/4 ½ oz each)
  • 150g (generous 5oz) Datterini tomatoes
  • 5 big heirloom tomatoes (e.g. Green Zebra, Pineapple, Black Krim, for a wide range of colours)
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil (really fresh, not that clump of wilting leaves lurking at the bottom of the fridge)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil QB
  • Fior di sale QB
  • Pepper QB

Method:

  1. This, you’ll see, is as simple as it’s delicious. Chop the Datterini tomatoes in half and season them with olive oil, salt, pepper and brown sugar.
  2. Place them on a baking tray and put them in an oven at 210C fan/230C/450F/GM 8 for 4–5 minutes maximum. The tomatoes should be charred and blackened. Leave to cool.
  3. Chop the heirloom tomatoes into quarters and season them with olive oil, basil, fior di sale, pepper and plenty of love. Mix the cooled charred tomatoes with the heirloom tomatoes. Add pieces of torn mozzarella.
  4. Scatter plenty of basil leaves over the salad. And buon appetito!

A minute to spare?

Fancy going on a bigger journey tonight? You can always book a ticket (or 2, or 3… ) for Verona. Apart from being the home of Romeo and Juliet, it’s a delightful city with a maze of pretty backstreets. Verona is also close to Venice but, unlike its larger neighbour, receives far fewer visitors.

Caponata Goals

Caponata

A Sicilian’s recipe for caponata

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 800g (1 ¾ lb) aubergines
  • 200g (7oz) white onions
  • 800g (1 ¾ lb) courgettes
  • 200g (7oz) Datterini tomatoes
  • 100g (3 ½ oz) vine ripened tomatoes
  • 40g (5 tbsp) capers preserved in coarse salt
  • 200g (generous 1 cup) green olives, pitted and preserved in brine
  • 40g ( 1/3  cup) pine nuts, toasted
  • 50g (3 ½  tbsp) white sugar
  • Basil QB
  • 40ml (2 ½ tbsp) white wine vinegar
  • Sunflower oil QB
  • Extra-virgin olive oil QB
  • Salt QB
  • Pepper QB

Method:

  1. Slice the onions into julienne strips. Chop the aubergines, courgettes and the vine ripened tomatoes into 3cm cubes. Cut the olives into 2.
  2. In a saucepan, simmer the onions, capers, courgettes and olives in olive oil. Add 20g (1 ½ tbsp) sugar, the Datterini and vine ripened tomatoes, and the pine nuts. Simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Fry the aubergines in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with piping-hot sunflower oil for 3–4 minutes. Add the vegetables from the other saucepan, along with the vinegar and the rest of the sugar. Stir. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Turn up the heat in order to caramelize the sugar and evaporate the vinegar. Allow this to simmer for 5 minutes whilst stirring, so you get a lovely caramelized flavour.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves (wash them under cold water first) and leave to cool (ideally on the balcony, but never in the fridge). Serve the caponata as we would at home in Italy: put it in a large serving dish and let everybody help themselves – it tastes even better that way. Bravo, capo.

A minute to spare?

Listen to the podcast ‘Stuff You Should Know’ to expand your mind as you cook.

Spaghetti Al Limone

Spaghetti with Procida lemon, the traditional recipe

Spaghetti al limone

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g (1lb 1 ½ oz) spaghetti
  • 2 Procida lemons (if these are unavailable, you can use other varieties, provided they’re unwaxed)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Chilli flakes QB
  • Mint, finely chopped QB
  • Basil (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil QB
  • Salt QB
  • Pepper QB

Method:

  1. Finely dice 1 of the lemons and transfer to a pestle and mortar. Bash the lemon along with the garlic, chilli flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper. When the ingredients are thoroughly mashed together, transfer the mixture to a frying pan and saut. gently in olive oil with the juice of the other lemon.
  2. Add the spaghetti to a saucepan of salted boiling water, but remove and drain the pasta a few minutes before it is completely cooked (reserve some of the cooking water – it will come in handy in the next step).
  3. Put the spaghetti into the lemon mixture in the frying pan, pour in some of the reserved cooking water and stir (‘mantecare’, as they say in Italian). A few seconds before turning off the heat, sprinkle on the mint and basil leaves (if using).
  4. Serve the spaghetti in pasta bowls, adding a drizzle of olive oil to each – and enjoy! It tastes like a summer holiday, right?

A minute to spare?

Here are the first names of some of our Italian chefs so you can choose 1 or 2 of them to bestow on your future children. We don’t want to pressure you, but if you do pick one, your child will be the coolest kid on earth: Virginia, Monia, Stefania, Brenda, Lucia, Andrea, Luca, Alberto, Leonardo, Mattia.

Big Mamma: Italian Recipes in 30 Minutes: Shower Time Included is out now, published by White Lion Publishing