Traditional recipes

Jamie’s Italian: where the wine grows

Jamie’s Italian: where the wine grows

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“There are flowers on the vine at last, that’s a good thing,” says John Leech, “Tradition holds that once the flowers arrive, the grapes will be harvested 100 days later. We were all a bit worried this year as spring came very late.”

It’s mid-June in Northern Italy’s Asti region, 2 hours south-west of sprawling Milan. We are driving up to the Araldica estate’s restaurant and lodge, ‘Il Cascionne,’ with darting finches playing in the 30-degrees heat against an azure sky; it’s glorious.

John, Sales Manager for Araldica, then begins pointing around the landscape: “Over those hills is Gavi, over there Genoa,” he continues to pivot with his arm outstretched, “Ventimiglia, Milan, Venice….” All that can be seen are rolling hills with the odd medieval church tower dotted among the vineyards.

Lunch is served on the terrace, a view and a menu almost too beautiful to describe, the quintessence Italy. Hand-rolled ravioli with veal, sweet peppers, local beef tartare…and wine.

A 2000 Berbera stands out, it’s the flagship and little wonder Jamie’s Italian can’t get enough of this grape. The Prosecco too is outstanding and also a mainstay of the JI menu.

We are joined by Claudio, Araldica’s Head Honcho: “In the valley, at our bottling and distribution centre, we collect the grapes from 300 different growers as we run as a cooperative,” he says, “I personally quality assess every single crop that comes in.”

This is why Jamie’s Italians love this wine, it’s of the highest standards despite the huge volumes being despatched; every glass in every restaurant comes with this guarantee of authenticity and love.


Put the egg yolks and sugar in a glass bowl and whisk in one direction until a paste forms. Add half the wine and whisk again until you have a smooth, thick custard with just a few bubbles.

Place the bow over a pan of simmering water (the water must not actually touch the bowl) and carry on whisking while gradually adding the remaining wine. This can take 10 minutes or more, depending on how vigorously you whisk. The idea is to thicken the mixture with air and to warm it, so you might have to take the bowl off the heat every now and then to avoid cooking it through. The result should be a silky cream that is almost as thick as mayonnaise. The test for readyiness is that a Savoiardi biscuit will stand upright in the zabaglione once it has been poured into a glass.

Former Jamie's Italian site to be reborn as Greek restaurant M.I.M by 1821

The Pitt Street address during its days as Jamie's Italian. Photo: Marco Del Grande

The Pitt Street site where British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's eponymous restaurant sank like a fallen souffle is set to be reborn. Good Food can reveal it'll join Sydney's Greek restaurant march.

M.I.M by 1821 is a co-production between the families of restaurateurs Jim Kospetas (The Civic, 1821) and Steve Anastasiou (China Doll, China Lane), only it'll be the "young blood" of the next generation who'll drive the restaurant.

M.I.M, an acronym for Made in Mykonos, has leased one of the more notorious sites in the Sydney CBD, a location that acted as a barometer for the rise and fall of Jamie's Italian in Australia.

An early success, the celebrity eatery later survived the executioner when Jamie Oliver Group bought back the chain in 2016 after its local operator, Keystone Group, went into receivership. When Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group (Australia) Pty Ltd collapsed in 2018, Brisbane-based Hallmark Group was the white knight. COVID-19 proved the death-knell, with the troubled restaurant in liquidation again.

"We think it's a great spot, and while they are looking at redeveloping the building we have at least 12 months [on the lease] guaranteed. But it could be years," says Kospetas, who has been on a buying spree, with his family company snapping up the Newtown Hotel and Tempe Hotel.

  • 7 tablespoons / 100 ml olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 dried red chilies or peperoncino, crumbled or finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, rinely chopped
  • 3 14-ounce / 400-gram cans of plum tomatoes, sieved, or 3 1/2 cups / 800 ml passata
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 ounce / 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons / 45 grams stale bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
  • Fried sage leaves (optional)

Heat about 5 tablespoons / 75 ml of the oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add the chilies, garlic. and onion, and cook gently for around 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and let them cook until the sauce is quite thick, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti in the salted boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup / 60 ml of the cooking water.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the red vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the pangrattato, heat the remaining oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and thyme, if desired, and fry until the bread crumbs are crispy, about 3 minutes.

Add the drained pasta and the reserved pasta water to the sauce, and toss to coat. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with the pangrattato over the top. if you like, you can garnish with fried sage leaves.

Jamie Oliver's empire collapses as 22 UK restaurants close

All but three of Jamie Oliver’s 25 UK restaurants have closed, with the loss of 1,000 jobs, after the business called in administrators.

The celebrity chef said he was “deeply saddened” by the blow to his restaurant empire, which began with the opening of Fifteen in London in 2002. Only his three outlets at Gatwick airport will remain in operation as administrators seek a buyer. But a further 300 jobs, mostly at the Gatwick outlets, remain at risk.

Oliver, 43, thanked staff and suppliers who had “put their hearts and souls into the business” as he credited his chains with transforming high street dining.

“I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected,” he said. “We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that.”

Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, which includes 22 Jamie’s Italian outlets, plus the Fifteen and Barbecoa restaurants in London and a Jamie’s Diner at Gatwick airport, appointed KPMG as administrators on Tuesday.

The administration does not affect more than 61 overseas outlets, including 25 Jamie’s Italians, or Fifteen in Cornwall, all of which are run by franchisees.

A 10-year deal with the US caterer Aramark to open franchise sites in universities, hospitals and other locations in the UK and overseas was also unaffected.

Will Wright, a partner at KPMG and the joint administrator, said: “The current trading environment for companies across the casual dining sector is as tough as I’ve ever seen. The directors at Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group have worked tirelessly to stabilise the business against a backdrop of rising costs and brittle consumer confidence.

“However, after a sales process which sought to bring new investment into the business proved unsuccessful, the team took the incredibly difficult decision to appoint administrators.”

Wright said that all but the Gatwick outlets – two Jamie’s Italian branches and a Jamie Oliver’s Diner – had been closed as there had been “insufficient funds available” to continue to trade the rest of the business.

“Our priority in the coming hours and days is to work with those employees who have been made redundant, providing any support and assistance they need,” he said.

All restaurant staff salaries would be paid up until Tuesday, according to the administrator.

The company had been seeking buyers in recent months after Oliver decided to sell up amid heavy competition in the casual dining market, where other chains, such as Carluccio’s, Byron Burger and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, had already closed outlets. Potential buyers did come forward and the chef put up another £4m of funds to support the business, but no suitable deal could be found.

The boom which increased the number of chain restaurants by a quarter in five years has come to an abrupt end, with about six net closures a month in the past year. In March, Britain had 5,785 chain restaurants, 1.1% fewer than the same month last year, according to research by CGA and advisory firm AlixPartners.

Full-service restaurants, such as Jamie’s Italian, are bearing the brunt of the change in behaviour, with sales down 6% year on year, according to the market research firm Kantar.

Simon Quirk, a consumer specialist at Kantar, said that as economic and political uncertainty dented confidence, diners had been reluctant to splash out on premium meals. They had switched to cheaper dining at coffee shops and cafes, or gone for more exciting experiences, such as dine-in markets or in-store cafes, that are part of a day out.

Sales at Jamie’s Italian dived by nearly 11% last year to £101m as it closed 12 restaurants and made about 600 staff redundant.

The collapse of his restaurant empire will be a blow to Oliver, who got his big break when a visiting TV crew spotted him working at the River Cafe in Hammersmith in 1997, leading to his own show The Naked Chef.

He went on to build a TV, publishing and restaurant empire which has had its ups and downs.

In October 2017, his food magazine, Jamie, ceased publication after almost 10 years. The business slumped to a loss of nearly £20m last year, dragged down by a grim year at the restaurant chain.

This article was amended on 22 May 2019 to clarify that Jamie Oliver put in another £4m of funds to support the business when it was attempting to find a buyer

Creamed Spinach and Red Wine Timballo

A timballo is a dome-shaped Italian casserole usually made with pasta, rice or potatoes. In this
timballo, a layer of creamed spinach adds extra creaminess and color to the dish.


  • 1½ cups marinara sauce
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 12 ounces ziti
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, finely grated
  • 1 ounce (½ cup) parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
  • 4 ounces (scant 1 cup) fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes


Prepare sauce: Heat marinara sauce in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add celery, tomato paste, wine and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Pasta: Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Set aside.

Creamed spinach: Heat butter in a 1½-2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat until foam subsides. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking. Bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, salt, pepper, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Remove the pan from heat.

Assembly: Place oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°. Grease a soufflé dish or domed glass mixing bowl, and line bottom with greased foil. Cover bottom of the dish or bowl with a single layer of pasta. Sprinkle ½ cup cubed mozzarella and 3 tablespoons parmesan over pasta. Spoon half of sauce in an even layer over cheese. Arrange one third of remaining pasta over sauce and top with all of creamed spinach. Add another layer of pasta (about half of remainder). Sprinkle with remainder of cheeses. Spoon remaining sauce over cheese. Top with remaining pasta. (You may have some pasta remaining.) Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover pasta.

Bake: Place the dish into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Fill the 9x13 dish with water halfway up the sides of the soufflé dish. Bake until bubbling and a metal skewer or thin knife inserted in center of timballo comes out hot to the touch, about 1 hour. Remove soufflé dish or bowl from water bath and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove foil and run a knife around edge of timballo to loosen. Place a platter on the soufflé dish and invert the dish onto the platter. Remove the soufflé dish or bowl and remaining foil.

Plan ahead - The timballo may be prepared up to 2 days ahead.
Store covered in the refrigerator, unmolded. To serve, reheat in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 300°. Unmold as per the recipe directions.

Simplify - In a pinch, you can get the look of the timballo, minus some of the work (and flavor). Instead of the creamed spinach, substitute spinach mixed with ½ cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon salt. Use plain marinara sauce in place of the sauce recipe.

The eggs

Hazan observes in her monumental book, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, that this may well be the only dessert using whisked egg yolks: “I don’t know of another,” she says. To whip up successfully, the protein-rich yolks need to be mixed with water – here in the form of wine, though you can, I’m assured, substitute coffee, hot chocolate or fruit juice, if you prefer. Then it is heated to set the foam (or, as McGee puts it rather more technically, to encourage the egg proteins to “unfold and bond with each other into a reinforcing matrix”). Caldesi also whisks in a whole egg, which makes her zabaglione gloriously light and foamy – if you’re after a particularly ethereal result, follow her lead, but the richer, yolk-only versions prove the firm favourite among my testers.

Angela Hartnett’s brandy-laced version. Thumbnails by Felicity Cloake.

The oft-quoted ratio of egg to sugar and wine is 1:1:1, using the eggshell as a measure (note: a yolk measures about a tablespoon, and a tablespoon is much easier to clean than an egg shell). But of the recipes I try, only Skye McAlpine’s lovely book, A Table in Venice, conforms: most others go a lot heavier on the alcohol, with Hazan calling for four times as much booze as yolk. The overwhelming feedback from my testers is that many of the recipes are just too sweet, so I’m going to reduce the sugar slightly as well as upping the alcohol, because I feel wine should be the predominant flavour.

Mains & Pata

The Jamie’s Italian Burger

Juicy prime beef with smoky prosciutto, balsamic, onions, Cheddar, tomato & homemade mustardia mayo

Pan-Roasted Salmon

Sustainable salmon with a rich shellfish, tomato, white wine & fennel stew, topped with a garlicky aioli.

Chicken Al Mattone

Free-range marinated chicken with a creamy wild mushroom sauce, lemony rocket & Parmesan.

Silky Penne Carbonara

Sweet tender leeks with golden pancetta, cracked black pepper & Parmesan.

Our Famous Prawn Linguine

Fried garlicky prawns, fennel, tomatoes, chilli & rocket

Fresh Crab Spaghetti

With chili, fennel, capers, white wine & garlic, topped with lemon zest & extra virgin olive oil.

Prosciutto & Pear Salad

Prosciutto & sweet pear with peppery rocket, radicchio, chicory, toasted pine nuts, pecorino, Parmesan & honey.

Truffle Tagliatelle

Luxurious, silky black truffle butter with aged Parmesan, nutmeg & more shaved black truffle

Mushroom Fettuccine

Wild mushrooms with mascarpone, garlic, white wine, lemony gremolata, Parmesan & herby breadcrumbs.

Penne Pomodoro

With sweet tomatoes, garlic, basil, mozzarella & herby breadcrumbs.

Classic Super Food Salad

A super-fresh combination of avocado, roasted beets, mixed pulses & grains, sprouting broccoli, pomegrenate & spicy seeds with harissa dressing & cottage cheese.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Grilled eggplant layered with Bella Lodi & tomato & basil sauce, served with freshly baked twisted garlic bread

Gennaro's Tagliatelle Bolognese

Amazing pork & beef slow cooked with red wine, topped with pangratto & veggie Parmesan.

Simple Baked Lasagne

Slow-cooked pork & beef with roasted squash, herbs & wine, baked in an oozy white sauce with tomatoes, mozzarella & Parmesan

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, at room temperature, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth.

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot chocolate cream. Scrape this mixture into the saucepan and whisk constantly until smooth. Stir in the rum and butter. Pour the custard into eight 1/2-cup ramekins or espresso cups and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.

DOCG wines

Brunello di Montalcino (Montalcino, Siena)

Sometime around 1800 AD, the Biondi Santi family decided a small hamlet called Montalcino would make the perfect spot to grow a particular clone of Sangiovese grapes called Brunello. They were absolutely right and since then Brunello has become one of the most important wines in the world thanks to low productions per hectare, a minimum of fifty months of aging in oak barrels (sixty-two months for the riserva) and the longevity of the wines that only start reaching maturity after fifteen years, making it appeal to wine collectors. The quality of the grape grown here is so high that the rules state no other grapes are allowed in this amazing wine.

Traditional: Biondi Santi – Tenuta Greppo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG (Sangiovese)

New wave: Sanlorenzo – Bramante Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG (Sangiovese)

Watch the video: SUMMER MENU. Asparagus u0026 Ricotta Ravioli. Jamies Italian (May 2022).