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Mar 1, 2011 08:05 AM

March 2011 Cookbook of the Month: JAMIE'S ITALY

Welcome to our March COTM: JAMIE'S ITALY

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from this books by Jamie Oliver. Give us the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. I purchased this book after watching "Jamie's Great Italian Escape" on the Food Network.

    Just in case folks are interested, I thought I'd mention that some of the videos from the tv series "Jamie's Great Italian Escape" are available on You Tube.

    1. Spaghetti Tetrazzini – p. 113 – Primi : Pasta

      This is not a dish that I would normally have been drawn to given the amount of cream it contains however, my neighbour gave me a litre container of heavy cream she was unable to use prior to her vacation so, after a quick EYB search through the COTM books, I landed on this dish. So how was it you ask? Well, what’s not to like about cream, chicken, good cheese, wild mushrooms and pasta?!!! Needless to say, we loved it!! This is a much more refined version of Chicken and Tuna Tetrazzinis we’ve had in the past.

      This is a chicken and mushroom pasta that is started stovetop and, finished in the oven. The recipe calls for 7oz of parmesan which proved to be more than what was left on our Costco wedge so I used a 50/50 blend of Parm and mozzarella. Prep is relatively quick and quite easy. Dry Porcini mushrooms are soaked, drained and their soaking liquid is reserved. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are cut into bite-sized pieces. Parmesan is grated and basil leaves are plucked from stems. Garlic cloves are sliced, fresh mushrooms are cleaned and though Jamie says “torn”, I chose to slice mine. White wine and heavy cream are measured and, spaghetti is put on to boil.

      This comes together very quickly at this point. Oil is heated in a pan and once you’ve seasoned your chicken w S&P you toss them in to brown. All mushrooms and the garlic are then added with the soaking liquid and wine to follow. At this point the heat is lowered and everything simmers until the chicken has cooked through and the wine has reduced somewhat.

      Once the spaghetti has cooked, cream is added to the chicken mixture and, brought to a boil then the heat is turned off and the pasta and ¾ of the grated parmesan are tossed in to coat along w the basil. Everything is then transferred to an ovenproof dish (I sprayed mine w Pam) and half the remaining Parmesan is sprinkled on top. The casserole then goes into a 400 degree oven until “golden brown and bubbling”. This took 14 minutes in my case and let me say, the house smelled heavenly as it bubbled away in the oven!! Our Golden Retriever was so drawn to this dish he decided it would be a good idea to camp out right beneath the oven door!

      Jamie suggests drizzling plates w evoo and topping w additional parmesan. Given all the cream in the dish, I skipped the evoo but did use the remaining parmesan.

      Oh my goodness this was delicious. Mr bc asked if we could have it again of Friday (usually “spaghetti Fridays” at our house)!! I wouldn’t be making this all the time but, if you’re looking for a creamy, cheesy, super-scrumptious treat….this is the recipe for you. I especially loved the basil in this, it adds a light, fresh note to an otherwise heavy but delicious dish.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        For those who are interested but don't have the book, this is one of the recipes (and one I'd picked to make - glad it was so incredible breadcrumbs!) on

        Looks amazing.

        1. re: LulusMom

          I didn't spend much time looking for it, but didn't see a note on the history of Chicken Tetrazzini, or, as Jamie calls it, "Spaghetti Tetrazzini". It's actually a dish created years ago, named after the Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. It is widely believed to have been invented ca. 1908-1910 by Ernest Arbogast, then chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, where Tetrazzini was a long-time resident. However, other sources attribute the origin to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City.

          I love this dish and can't wait to look up Jamie's version. I think the "original" uses sherry rather than white wine.

          1. re: oakjoan

            PS - there is also a chicken or turkey tetrazinni (not the veg one discussed above) on the website.

            1. re: LulusMom

              LLM, did you mean the one Breadcrumbs reported above? Definitely chicken tetrazinni.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Oops, sorry - was thinking it was the report about the vegetarian tetrazzini that he also has.

        2. re: Breadcrumbs


          I am definitely going to make this.

          One question for you - what size dish to bake it in? Is a 9 x 13" Pyrex the correct size?

          Thanks for sharing - your photos look GREAT.


          1. re: HB_Jeff

            HB_Jeff, thanks so much, that's very kind of you! Absolutely do try this, it really is delicious.

            Funny you should ask about the dish because it was a subject of debate here. In the end we went w my 2.5 Qt Denby dish which is 8 x 12 x 3 since mr bc thought the deeper slices would be best. You could absolutely use a 9 x 13 dish. I should also say that I didn't end up using the full pound of spaghetti. In the end, I likely tossed about 3/4 lb into the sauce and that seemed like plenty.

            Enjoy, I look forward to your review!!

        3. Fennel Risotto with Ricotta and Dried Chili, p. 145

          I made a half recipe. Like the other risottos (risotti?), this recipe begins with Risotto Bianco (p.130, and incidentally, essentially the same as the Basic Risotto in the NC books). It proceeds in the usual way: Onion, celery, and garlic are sautéd, rice is added and sautéd, white wine and hot stock are added gradually, and much stirring ensues. In the present recipe, thinly sliced fennel bulb and sliced garlic go in a skillet with olive oil (a bit of crushed fennel seed is called for, but I had none), and this is covered and the fennel cooked until tender. The fennel is added to the risotto when the rice is partially done. When the rice is done al dente, the pot comes off the heat, grated parmesan and "nice, crumbly ricotta" are added and the pot is covered for a couple of minutes. I used locally made fresh ricotta that is indeed both nice and crumbly, and a good bit more than called for. (He also calls for lots of butter to be added at this point - 5 T. for the full recipe - which I omitted.) The risotto is then finished with lemon zest and juice, minced fennel greens, and crushed dried chile.

          I liked this a lot. It was creamy enough with the ricotta and parmesan (I'm sure it would be luscious with the butter, but I leave that kind of richness for special occasions and restaurants, where ignorance is bliss), and the mellow sautéd fennel was nicely set off by the lemon zest and juice and chile.

          1. Salsicce con Lenticchie Verdi e Salsa di Pomodoro
            (Sausages and Green Lentils with Tomato Salsa), Pg. 221, Secondi

            This is a four element recipe all of which come together as the main dish with a side of greens. When we made our tomato sauce for our Macaroni Monday we used the salsa recipe from this recipe and used half for spaghetti (with additional ingredients) and saved the second half (per the exact recipe) for this salsa.

            1. Salsa: EVOO, chopped red onion, chopped garlic, 1/2 cinnamon stick, dried chilies, red wine vinegar, 28 oz tinned tomatoes. Typical method for making the sauce, it simmers for 30 minutes, while you make the lentils.

            2. Lentils: After rinsing the lentils put into a pot and cover with water. Add whole garlic cloves, bay leaf, parsley stems. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.

            3. Sausages: Although the recipe calls for 8 medium Italian sausages I used 3 very large ones. (It was plenty for us) They are tossed into a roasting pan with EVOO, placed into a pre-heated 400F oven, roasted for 25-ish minutes.

            4. Purple sprouting broccoli OR cima di rapa: I used the rapa which is rinsed well then put into a pot of boiling water after the sausages are done. Drain well when cooked and squeeze half a lemon over. drizzle with EVOO. Recipe says to cook "for a few minutes". I used only the tender tips and destemed the leaves and no way were they done in a few.

            >Put it all together:
            When lentils are done pour away the water, take out the parsley, mash the garlic into the lentils and dress with EVOO, red wine vinegar and chopped parsley. Spoon the lentils into place bowls. Discard cinnamon stick from salsa and spoon salsa over lentils. Put sausages either sliced or whole, on top of salsa. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Serve with a bowl of the broccoli or rapa.

            It was a bit of a do but if you're well organized it goes along smoothly and you get a wonderful healthy tasty meal. I had planned to serve garlic bread and a salad but this was quite enough for a main dish on its own. If I were to make this again I would eliminate the greens. Or, I'd make them My Way... a light sautee with EVOO, garlic and RPF. I do not like boiled greens, Sam I am. Anyway, we enjoyed the process and the eating.

            Oh about that was terrific. When it was cooking the kitchen smelled like an old Italian restaurant my father used to take us to. Cue "Thanks for the Memories."

            3 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              Gio thanks for the great review, this is one of the dishes i'd flagged as well. Especially glad to read your thoughts on the salsa rossa. I do have a question about that salsa. How prevalent was the cinnamon flavour and is that traditional?

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Thanks Breadcrumbs. The cinnamon flavor was not prevalant. In fact, I was surprised at the zesty, deep flavor of the salsa. I don't use cinnamon and feel safe to say my family didn't/doesn't as well. Although, depending on the region perhaps it is used in tomato sauces. Southern Italian cooking has so many influences from other countries, as does Venice vis a vis the spice who knows. I wonder if Maureen Fant will pop in here occasionally. She's the expert.

                1. re: Gio

                  Thanks Gio, that's great to know. mr bc isn't a fan of cinnamon in any savoury dishes so it sounds as though he'll be no worse the wiser if I were to include it here. I've seen a few of JO's recipes now w cinnamon in the tomato sauce. I know he did spend a fair bit of time in southern Italy for his Great Italian Escapes show so perhaps that's where he picked this up. Funny though because when I saw this dish w lentils and sausage I immediately thought of Tuscany but I didn't see any cinnamon there in sauces.

            2. I don't think I'm going to be making pasta as I had planned. I was declared diabetic on Monday, and am weaning myself off of sugar and flour, at least as much as I used to eat.

              I imagine I'll find something else I like in JAMIE'S ITALY, though.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Jay F

                Sorry to hear that Jay. I hope you find some other delicious stuff that makes you happy.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Thanks, Mere de L. I do love fish.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    Oh good! That will definitely help. And if you read through the old threads from when Fish Without a Doubt was COTM, I bet you'll come up with some other great ideas (but it seems like there are plenty of JO fishie things too).

                2. re: Jay F

                  Oh Jay I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis although I do know you'll still have lots of great meals to prepare from Jamie's Italy.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Thanks, Breadcrumbs. In reading further, I've discovered I don't have to give up carbohydrates completely, just *almost* completely.