THE LAST BITE: Carluccio on love, life and pasta

Much loved Italian cookery writer Antonio Carluccio describes new book

Italian chef Antonio Carluccio
Italian chef Antonio Carluccio

Italian chef Antonio Carluccio took five minutes to chat to Caterer during the Dubai launch of his new book Antonio Carluccio: A recipe for Life and shared the secret behind the perfect bowl of pasta

What is your new book about?
The new book sees me look back over my culinary experiences and features a range of tales from where I grew up on the Amalfi Coast, the launch of my first Carluccio’s Caffe in Neal Street Covent Garden London and how I got to be where I am today.

From all of the places you have travelled, what has been your favourite?
All of the places I’ve visited have offered something unique and different. While Italian cuisine will always be close to my heart, I don’t think I could settle back down in Italy – that’s primarily down to me having seen too much of the rest of the world!

How well understood is Italian cuisine in this region?
The understanding and awareness of Italian food in the Middle East has really grown over the last few years. Lots of new Italian brands are entering the region, cookery programmes are including more Italian dishes and Italian celeb chefs are visiting the region – like me! Most importantly it is getting much easier to source quality ingredients locally.

What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?
Mushrooms are my favourite ingredient to work with and as a result tagliatelle with funghi is my favourite Italian dish.

Will the Carluccio’s brand expand any further across the region?
We will open another three in the UAE very soon. Deira City Centre in Dubai, Dubai International Airport and Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi will all open next year. This is yet more proof that Italian cuisine is growing in popularity in the region.

What’ s the secret behind the perfect pasta?
You must use very hot, salted water — 10g of salt per litre of water for al dente pasta. Perfect every time!

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