Our Italian winemakers share their favourite lockdown recipes

Life in lockdown doesn’t have to be boring.

Many of us have been turning to old hobbies and passions or brushing up on new skills in this difficult time.

If we aren’t going out for essentials or our daily exercise, many of us find ourselves sitting indoors, twiddling our thumbs and thinking about what will keep us entertained for another day.

For those who are used to hectic five-day working week, cooking is often the last thing on our minds after a long day. Lockdown has been a chance for us to get our aprons on and find those difficult and time-consuming recipes we all love but never have time for.

We’ve been talking to our winemakers all over the world and our friends over in Italy have shared with us some of their favourite dishes and recipes for you to try yourself.

Sofia Barbanera of the Barbanera family whose winery produces our delicious Puglian Corsiero Nero has told us her top six traditional dishes she’s been enjoying with her family. We’ve paired each dish with a delicious wine for you to enjoy.


These are traditional hand-made pasta made just from flour and water, whose appearance is quite similar to a ‘bolder spaghetti’. In this case, they have been dressed with a special garlic sauce which is called ‘aglione’. ‘Aglione’ literally means ‘big garlic’ . This is really typical of Tuscany.”

Our wine recommendation is Toscana IGT Saracosa 2018, crafted at Sofia Barbanera’s family estate.


This is a ring-shaped cake usually eaten for breakfast. Actually, we have cooked this kind of pie like three or four times since the beginning of quarantine. We don’t have the right time to do it when we are continuously running and we prefer to have a croissant and cappuccino at the bar in the morning. However, ciambellone is very good if immersed in milk and coffee – also if some chocolate or jam is spread on the slices.”

If cake for breakfast isn’t your thing, why not try it later in the day alongside a glass of this delicious Moscato d’Asti DOCG.


“As you can see, there are some traditional ‘lasagne’ that have been entirely hand-made by our graphic designer Francesca.”

A glass of ContraPosto 2018 goes perfectly alongside a traditional Lasagne.

Torta Di Pasqua

This is a ‘salty pie’ traditionally prepared for the Easter time and it’s made with cheese, nutmeg, eggs and other tasty components. During Easter morning, this is usually filled with mayonnaise and capocollo or butter and capocollo. Some like to fill it also with pickled vegetables, boiled eggs or other cold cuts.”

Fancy giving this dish a go? Why not pair it with Saracosa Governo Rosso 2018.


“My sister prepared them this Saturday. This is a dessert made with a dough of ricotta and flour – usually prepared for Carnival. This is very quick to be prepared and could be filled with different kind of flavours: jam, chocolate, nut-cream (our favourite is Nutella).”

Sweet tooth lovers rejoice! We have the perfect Prosecco to accompany this.


“I think that you know quite well the Ravioli pasta. However these have been filled with fresh ricotta and small chards – then dressed with a fresh tomato sauce. You have to consider that they have a really long preparation, so we like to cook them just for special occasions. Otherwise, we prefer to buy them at the fresh pasta store – much more easy!”

Ravioli, one of our favourites and a classic! Pair it with a glass of Corsiero Nero.

Fancy trying some traditional Italian dishes out for yourself? Anna Rita Masi, whose Tuscan family winery produce our Collezione di Paolo Chianti, has shared two of her favourite recipes that she’s been loving.

Pasta Agli Asparagi (Asparagus Pasta)

Penne Rigate 340g (12 ounces)
Fresh asparagus 700g circa (25 ounces)
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
PDO grated Parmesan cheese 20g (0.70 ounces) Shallots 80g (2.80 ounces)
Thyme 3g (3 sprigs)

To prepare the asparagus pasta, start by placing a pan with plenty of water on the fire, when it boils add a couple of spoons of salt, it will serve to cook the pasta. Continue with the cleaning of the asparagus. Wash them under fresh running water and dry them with a cloth. Then cut the harder and light-coloured ends by levelling them. Remove the outer part of the stem, the leatherier ones with a potato peeler. Take the asparagus and align them in a bunch, then cut the stems into small slices (washers). Pay attention to leave the tips intact (you can divide them in half by the length if you prefer). Then clean and finely chop the shallots.

Proceed by taking a non-stick pan: pour a drizzle of oil and gently fry the shallot. Stir occasionally and add a ladle of cooking water to avoid the risk of without the risk of burning. Add the chopped asparagus and the tips. Salt and pepper, mix and pour one or two ladles of hot water, then cover with the lid and let it cook for 10-15 minutes on moderate heat.

While the asparagus is cooking, boil the pasta in the pot of boiling water. When it is ‘al dente’, transfer it to the pan where you cooked the asparagus with the help of a slotted spoon and stir.

In the end, flavour the pasta with the thyme leaves and the grated Parmesan. If necessary, wet with very little cooking water, stir and then turn off the heat. Finally serve your pasta with asparagus and … enjoy your meal!

An excellent alternative to the pasta is our tagliatelle. Asparagus go with tagliatelle very well!! Try it! Fantastic with a glass of Bianco Vergine or Rosato!

Spaghetti Al Pomodoro Fresco (Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato)

Spaghetti 340g (12 ounces)
Ripe tomatoes 300g (10.60 ounces) – they can be of any variety, but most important is that tomatoes are very ripe
Garlic (6 cloves)
Thyme 5g (4-5 sprigs)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
5-6 fresh basil leaves – as an alternative, you can use parsley-I don’t use dried basil or parsley, just fresh

Start by placing a pan with plenty of water on the fire; when it boils add a couple of spoons of salt: it will serve to cook the spaghetti.

Cut the tomatoes into pieces, remove some water and seeds of the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes and the garlic cloves with a drizzle of oil in a non-stick and start cooking them gently. Let them boil for a couple of minutes and then cover the pan. Leave it to rest a while.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until “al dente”. Transfer the spaghetti to the pan where the tomatoes are, add some drops of extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste and add thyme.

In the end, stir it over gentle heat and cut the fresh basil leaves into 4-5 slices and put it on the spaghetti. Stir again. Ready to be enjoyed with a glass of our Chianti or Poggerissi.

What are you waiting for? Get ready to unleash your inner Italian chef and enjoy a glass of wine alongside your cooking.

Eat well, drink responsibly and stay safe.

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About Laithwaite's Wine

We’re wine nuts, not wine snobs. We’ve been exploring the world on a mission to find great wine for the last 50 years. If you love adventure as much as we do, you belong with us. We know our winegrowers like family – and in some cases they actually are. Expect to hear from these legends of the soil, see behind the scenes access into vineyards and wineries and get news on fresh finds from our travels on this page. Drink responsibly. Visit drinkaware.co.uk for further health information. You must be aged 18 or over to follow.

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