Haven’t heard of Silvia yet? It’s time for an education. The food blogger and joyous Italian mama will soon grace our TV screens with show Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca and we’re pretty darn excited. From Tuscan stew to almond biscotti, the sassy belle from Abruzzo is winning us over, one glug of extra virgin olive oil at a time.
17 Oct 2014 - 11:47 AM  UPDATED 9 May 2016 - 5:36 PM

1. She’s feisty when it matters

Tuscan stews are like their makers – robust, generous and not for the faint-hearted. This slow-cooked beauty features sage, Chianti, oyster blade steak and a princely seasoning of black pepper.

2. Who else puts the keen in zucchini?

Not one to alienate her girl-crushing fans, Silvia shares plenty of vegetarian recipes on the show. A zealot for zucchini, she chooses to hollow and stuff the green vegetable for this gorgeous gratin. We deem it an essential on your next antipasti plate.

3. Silvia’s quick to share secrets

The French might be famed for their baking abilities, but Italians know some sweet tricks too. Typical of Italian desserts – and cooking in general – this recipe uses extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. Add some Sambuca, fresh apricots and flaked almonds, and bravo, you’ve got a fruit cake phenomenon.

4. And stays loyal to her oil

White wine + extra virgin olive oil = waffle batter? We were perplexed too. That is, until we tried Silvia’s ultra-simple snack. Serve the crisps with salami, olives and chunks of pecorino.

5. A clever cook, too

According to Silvia, Italians don’t often order takeaway – no pizza?!? – because most home cooks have a plethora of simple recipes under their belt. This one-pot chicken dish is a cinch. Simply throw your herbs, poultry, wine and tomatoes into an ovenproof pan, then pour yourself a glass of vino while it cooks.

6. She got it from her mama

Silvia says no family feast gets under way in the Colloca household without her mum’s roast capsicum salad. Sporting a beautiful charred flavour, the well-oiled antipasto will knock your socks off. Scatter with herbs and serve alongside a freshly-baked loaf. Belissimo!

7. It’s heart-melting o’clock

With hazelnuts, Frangelico and coffee-spiked cocoa, Silvia’s torta gianduja literally takes the cake. It’s rich, moist and flourless... basically a chocolate lover’s dream. Oh, and did we mention it tastes even better on day two? 

Torta gianduja from Silvia's Cucina.

8. Serious BFF material

Bump shortbread and ANZAC bikkies off the baking list this weekend and opt for Silvia’s almond and lemon biscotti instead. The recipe lends itself to experimentation – try adding chocolate and hazelnut, or pistachio and orange. Just remember to have your espresso on the ready.

Almond and lemon biscotti

9. Doesn't miss a (silver)beet

Don’t be fooled by its name, pizza rustica ain’t the salami-clad snack you might’ve expected. It’s actually a pie consisting of silverbeet, ricotta, salami and eggs, housed within a rich, buttery pastry. Silvia says this one's a springtime fave.

10. She's not afraid of the sauce

The Italian name for this stew, polpi in purgatorio, translates as “octopus in purgatory”. Not exactly the cheeriest of thoughts, but we can assure you that as the cook and diner, you’ll be in culinary heaven. Serve with crusty bread and soak up the glorious sauce.

11. And gleefully dunks cake in coffee

“The love child of sponge and Madeira cakes”, this lemon and ricotta variety is one the family will adore. Silvia likes to lace hers with a little Amaretto and dip it into coffee on a Sunday morn. 

12. Peasant cuisine’s never looked so good

On her journey through the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Le Marche and Molise, Silvia re-discovers authentic cucina povera or ‘peasant cuisine’. Fresh and far lighter than the classics many of us are used to, this style of cooking showcases seasonal, locally-farmed produce like lamb chops with asparagus.

To find out more about the show, check out the episode guide, or scroll through Silvia's recipes, head to our Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca website, and tune in at 9pm, Thursday 19 May on SBS.