• This vibrant broccoli and sausage rigatoni is a taste of Sicily. (Bonacini's Italy)Source: Bonacini's Italy
Michael Bonacini shares his favourite recipes from across Italy - there's even DIY pasta for those wanting to make like a nonna!
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9 Apr 2020 - 2:13 PM  UPDATED 9 Apr 2020 - 2:13 PM

Twirl a fork through Campania's classic spaghetti alla puttanesca, turn the comfort factor up to dieci (ten!) with a bowl of hearty Tuscan lamb ragu on pasta, or turn your leftover pasta into a simple, creamy Basilicatan frittata ... 

Every area of Italy has its own favourite pasta recipes, and in Bonacini's Italy, you can take a taste tour from your very own kitchen. In each episode, Michael Bonacini shares four recipes - antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce - from a different region of Italy. And of course, pasta is a regular on the menu!

With season 2 screening on SBS Food 12 April - 19 July (catch the show every Sunday at 7pm, then on SBS On Demand), here's a preview of some of the pasta dishes he whips up, sharing his passion for Italian food and the special dishes and ingredients of each region. It's a taste tour through Italy!


Lamb ragu on pici (pici al ragù di agnello)

Michael Bonacini's rich ragu is a glorious tribute to Tuscany, full of magnificent flavour. He serves it on coils of fat, slippery pici, a Tuscan pasta that is like a fatter spaghetti. It's traditionally hand-rolled. Bonacini's recipe uses dried pici, but you can also make your own

Poppyseed pasta with sage and prosciutto

"You cannot beat a plate of fresh-made and fresh-cooked pasta," says Bonacini of this recipe. It's a great one if you fancy making your own pappardelle; you can use a pasta machine, or a rolling pin and knife. The wide ribbons go beautifully with a flavoured butter sauce and crispy prosciutto and sage, for a wonderful taste of Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulia region. 

Spaghetti puttanesca

For his Campania menu, Bonacini is serving up a well-known classic. "Spaghetti puttanesca is a favourite primo in Campania’s glamorous capital of Naples," he says. Full of bold flavours, with garlic, olives, anchovies, chilli and tomato, his recipe is also very easy to make. 

Vermicelli frittata

This great recipe hails from the southern Italian region of Basilicata: "Ancient villages, mountains covered in forest and two stunning coastlines," says Michal Bonacini - and the inspiration for this versatile idea. "If you have leftover pasta sitting in your fridge like I do from time to time, then you are going to want to know about vermicelli frittata, a classic dish from Basilicata." This frittata is somewhere between a quiche and a flat omelette, packed full of flavour with a creamy, delicious centre.

Chestnut pasta with pork and cabbage

 "They don’t really eat a whole lot of pasta in Valle D’Aosta, but when they do, it is spectacularly unique, like this fettucine di castagne con verze e costine," says Bonacini. The heart of this recipe is the meat: pork ribs browned and then cooked until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Paired with cabbage, it creates a dish that's hearty and delicious. You can pair the sauce with whatever pasta you like; Bonacini has included instructions for making your chestnut pasta from scratch. The chestnut flour gives a nutty edge to the pasta, which is a great match with the rustic sauce. 

Broccoli and sausage rigatoni

"Sicilians are ingenious when it comes to taking a few ingredients and transforming them into a mouth-watering dish like this rigatoni broccoli e salsiccia," says Bonacini, as he cooks up his Sicilian menu. "This is a great little dish to add to your repertoire because it’s not complicated and takes very few ingredients." Use hot or mild sausage to suit your tastes. 

Broccoli and sausage rigatoni

Bucatini with amatriciana sauce

Best known for the splendour and bustle of Rome, the region of Lazio is also home to the small town of Amatriciana, after which this sauce is named. "The true beauty of this sauce is its simplicity," says Bonacini. Guanciale - salt-cured and aged pork jowl - brings really deep savoury flavour to the tomato sauce. 

Join Michael Bonacini as he cooks everything from fritters to flatbreads and delicious sweets in Bonacini's Italy, Sundays 7pm 12 April to 19 July on SBS Food Channel 33 and then on SBS On Demand. 

More from Michael Bonacini's kitchen
Brioche with gelato (panino al gelato)

On summer mornings in coastal towns, Calabrians can sometimes be found eating a brioche ice-cream sandwich for breakfast, and I can’t think of a better way to start the day. This brioche is golden brown, crisp on the outside and light on the inside. Serve with your favourite icecream.

Pork braised in milk (maiale al latte)

Long, slow cooking creates fall-apart tender pork. 

Swordfish with capers, olives and tomatoes (pesce spada alla ghiotta)

This brings together lovely seared fish steaks, beautiful sweet pomodorini, cherry tomatoes, that become super juicy and they burst in your mouth, a little heat from chillies, capers for that briny salty little hit, and these gorgeous earthy olives. 

Pasta stuffed with potato, cheese and mint (culurgiones)

This takes inspiration from the island of Sardinia - the lovely soft, supple pasta dough is easy to make, and the filling is a great combination of cheese and potato. 

Potato ricotta gnocchi with braised greens

These light gnocchi are served with nutty browned butter and parmesan. With the greens, it's big, rich and flavourful. Once you’ve had gnocchi like this, there’s no other way to have them.