Side Dishes

‘In Italy we really celebrate our side dishes and they’re often the main attraction of a meal rather than just an accompaniment’.

Italians take their meal accompaniments very seriously; here is Gino’s unique take on the not-so-simple side!

Forget cremated cauliflower and sorry-looking salad, Gino has turned the side into the star of the show. His authentic Italian side dish recipes embrace fresh, seasonal ingredients that make a real difference to flavour, colour and texture.

With all Mediterranean cuisine, the flavours of authentic Italian side dishes are governed by the flavours of the main dish. Plain-grilled meat and fish need a full-bodied accompaniment while richer dishes benefit from simpler, cleaner tastes.

From classic bruchette with avocado & smoked paprika or broad bean & fresh mint to the wonderfully clean, fresh tastes of courgette fritters with pecorino cheesefrittelle di zucchini con pecorinoTrapani-style couscous with fish, tomatoes and almondscouscous alla trapanese con pesce, pomodori e mandorle – and the completely delicious Italian-style spring rolls, or bombe di verdure.

Using incredible ingredients that pack a huge flavour punch, you can recreate Gino’s traditional Italian side dishes and turn a great meal into a fantastico meal!

If you’re looking for some of the best Italian side dishes online, you’re in the right place! You’ll find lots of tasty Italian side dish recipes in Gino’s best-selling recipe books or you can find a selection of great ideas below. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start cooking!

Side DishesGet Inspired

Frittelle di zucchine con pecorinoCourgette Fritters With Pecorino

Whenever we are in Olbia, a port town on the northeast coast of Sardinia near my home, we order courgette fritters instead of chips. They make a great side dish or snack, but if you include cheese, as I have done here, they make a more substantial first course. Pecorino sardo, a traditional Sardinian hard cheese made from sheep’s milk – is similar to the better-known pecorino romano (which...

4

Serves

10

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Couscous alla trapanese con pesce, pomodori e mandorleTrapani-Style Couscous with Fish, Tomatoes & Almonds

There are literally dozens of recipes for this classic Sicilian couscous dish, most of which have the addition of seafood and chilli – but here I’ve let the sweet white fish do the talking. The town of Trapani is famous for couscous, and there is an annual couscous festival there in September. Ask your fishmonger for end cuts and bones to flavour the sauce.

4

Serves

14

Ingredients

Couscous

Main Ingredient
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Involtini di melanzane ripieni di uva passa, capperi e nociRolled Aubergines Stuffed wth Raisins, Capers & Walnuts

Aubergines were introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the Middle Ages and Sicilians use them a lot in their cooking. Stuffing sliced aubergines with cheese, breadcrumbs and other goodies is a particularly popular way of serving them. Feel free to be creative with your fillings – this recipe is not about precision. Choose the heaviest aubergines you can find and cut just before...

4

Serves

15

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Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Focaccia ripienaStuffed Focaccia with Black Olives, Spinach and Mozzarella

I love this bread; it’s almost a meal in itself and could almost pass for a pizza with all the flavours I have put inside. You can be as creative as you like here and add in almost anything but the melted cheese with the strong flavour of the olives works perfectly with the spinach. This focaccia can be eaten warm or at room temperature and a slice will always be welcome in a lunchbox or on a picnic.

6

Serves

10

Ingredients

Cheese

Main Ingredient
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Bombe Di VerdureItalian-Style Spring Rolls

One of my favourite oriental dishes has to be vegetable spring rolls and I make it so often at home that I had to include it in my book. It’s a fantastic dish to prepare when you have parties, because you can fry them in the afternoon and then reheat them in the oven ready for your guests. Ensure the vegetables are not too wet when putting them into the filo pastry, otherwise your spring rolls will...

4

Serves

11

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Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Bruschette con crema d’avocadoAvocado & Smoked Paprika Bruchette

Believe it or not, I tasted my first avocado when I came to England and, contrary to the popularity of ‘tricolore salad’ in Britain, in Italy, this dish just doesn’t exist. On its own, avocado can often be bland but it’s fantastic in salads or with a spicy dish. I wanted to create a recipe with this fruit, as it has an extremely high nutritional value and helps provide many general health benefits....

4

Serves

6

Ingredients
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Involtini di melanzane ripieni di uva passa, capperi e nociRolled Aubergines With Raisins, Capers & Walnuts

Aubergines were introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the Middle Ages and Sicilians use them a lot in their cooking. Stuffing sliced aubergines with cheese, breadcrumbs and other goodies is a particularly popular way of serving them. Feel free to be creative with your fillings – this recipe is not about precision. Choose the heaviest aubergines you can find and cut just before...

4

Serves

15

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Carpaccio di Zucchine con Borlotti, Peperoni e CapperiCourgette Carpaccio With Borlotti Beans, Peppers & Capers

This is a great vegetarian alternative to raw meat or fish carpaccio. The marinating of the thinly sliced courgettes makes them so soft they don’t need any cooking. If using small, young courgettes you can use the whole vegetable, but for larger courgettes I suggest you use the flesh only, as the seeds can be spongy when eaten raw. Just halve the courgettes lengthways, run a teaspoon down the centre...

4

Serves

11

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Crostatine Piccanti di Asparagi, Ricotta e ParmigianoAsparagus, Ricotta, Chilli and Parmesan Tartlets

Asparagus is one of the great delicacies of the vegetable world, and my asparagus tartlets quite rightly make it centre of attention. It is cooked very briefly, then plunged into cold water to retain its texture and bright green colour. You can use pecorino cheese rather than Parmesan if you like a saltier flavour.

4

Serves

10

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Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Avocado Grigliato Ripieno di Pomodori, Cipollotti, Olive e CapperiGrilled Avocado Stuffed With Tomatoes, Spring Onions, Olives & Capers

This dish is rather retro and I used to make it when I first came to London as a teenager. Make sure that the avocados are perfectly ripe and don’t use buffalo mozzarella, as it will release too much milk during cooking. Grilling the avocado makes it softer and more velvety, but don’t overcook or it will turn mushy. Serve with your favourite salad leaves.

4

Serves

14

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Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Bruschetta Fai Da TeBuild Your Own Beef Bruschetta

Half the pleasure of food is being able to enjoy it with your friends and family. I love dishes that can be placed in the centre of the table so that everybody can help themselves. It's the most social form of eating and it means I'm not stuck in the kitchen! This recipes cooks the beef from scratch, but if you have any leftover roast beef from a Sunday roast by all means use that.

4

Serves

15

Ingredients

Beef

Main Ingredient
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Zucchine e TartufoCourgettes with Truffle and Mint Dressing

This recipe sums up what this book is all about – minimum effort, maximum satisfaction! If you cannot find fresh truffles you can always use truffles preserved in jars or even truffle-flavoured olive oil.

4

Serves

7

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Vegetables

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Zucca al Forno con Peperoncino e SalviaRoasted Squash with Chilli and Sage Crumbs

I don’t about know you, but I sometimes get bored of always having potatoes with my main meal. I created this in order to still have a substantial side dish, but with more exciting colours and flavours. Try this recipe with pumpkin when it is in season and you can use Parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino.

6

Serves

8

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Crocchette di Barbabietola e SalmoneBeetroot Rosti with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream

I have to admit that I'm not a great lover of beetroot, probably because I don’t particularly like sweet and sour together. This, however, is one of the few ways that I will eat beetroot because it works beautifully with the smoked salmon. If you are a beetroot virgin – here you go, this is the one to try. Make sure that you cook the rostis until they are very crispy.

4

Serves

11

Ingredients

Salmon

Main Ingredient
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Bruschetta Di Fave e MentaBroad Beans and Fresh Mint Bruschetta

Bruschetta is definitely one of the main dishes for an Italian antipasti. The freshness of the mint together with the broad beans is a fantastic combination that will fill you up and yet won’t leave you feeling heavy. You can substitute the broad beans with butter beans and if you don’t have fresh mint, use fresh leaf parsley or chives.

4

Serves

8

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Bruschette con pesto di pomodori secchiBruschette with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Bruschette are eaten all over Italy, and we all know and love the traditional tomato-based recipe. I, for one, certainly grew up on it. This version just adds a little twist to the classic dish and is perfect for entertaining.

4

Serves

13

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Fagioli al rosma rino con pane tostato all’aglioItalian Beans with Rosemary on Garlic Toasts

You might be tempted to think this recipe is just posh beans on toast, but to us Italians it’s an important dish, especially in regions where beans are a staple part of the diet.

10

Ingredients
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Mozzarella SfiziosaMarinated Mozzarella Balls

When you think of Italian cheese, two come to mind immediately – mozzarella and Parmesan. This recipe puts mozzarella front and centre with two different marinades that are guaranteed to impress!

2

Serves

16

Ingredients

Cheese

Main Ingredient
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