Petra Pennington, Food Writer

At last – true Italian pizza, delivered direct to your home, from Donald Russell. And what pizza!

It will come as no surprise that Donald Russell Managing Director, Tazio Gagliardi, with his Italian heritage, is a pizza aficionado. When he couldn’t wait to get these home, we knew they were the genuine article.

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They’re all made in Italy of course – by hand, in the small town of Fregona, Veneto, about 40 miles north of Venice – and are authentically Italian from start to finish. One bite and you’ll be hooked…

The dough is made in the traditional way, using Italian durum wheat and Italian extra virgin olive oil. It’s hand pulled and tossed to be light as air – perfectly thin and with a crisp crust.

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Try the classic pizzeria round shape. Or sample the master Pizzailo’s art through our unusual and exciting styles, little known outside of Italy. There’s Barchetti (‘mini boats’), Frusti (part folded) and Rettangolari (rectangular – ideal for sharing)

The sauce is fresh and deceptively simple, like the best Italian cooking. Just Italian tomatoes, with Italian basil, and a little salt. Then come the toppings! Feast your eyes on these …

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Margherita:

Simplicity at its best. Fresh pulped tomatoes, simply seasoned with salt and oregano, topped with torn fresh mozzarella. This is the basis of all our toppings.

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Prosciutto e Mascarpone:

Italian style cooked ham, ‘Prosciutto Cotto’, with thin, melting pats of fresh tasting, creamy mascarpone.

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Quattro Stagioni:

Four delicious Italian seasons represented on one pizza! Artichokes for spring, ripe peppers for summer, mushrooms for autumn, and Prosciutto Cotto for winter.

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Verdure Grigliate:

Grilled Mediterranean vegetables – ribbons of zucchini (courgette), thin disks of melanzane (aubergine), and peperone rosso (red peppers).

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Napoletana:

The classic margherita, adorned with slices of ripe cherry tomato, mini pearls of mozzarella, and fresh Italian basil.

Savour the tastes of Napoli and Roma. You can do all this without having to go further than your own kitchen, as all of these pizzas bake beautifully, straight from frozen in your home oven, in under 15 minutes. So go on – pour the wine and enjoy a slice of la dolce vita!

Petra

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Petra Pennington, Food Writer

Ravioli to rave about…

What’s quintessentially Italian, can be cooked straight from the freezer in just 5 minutes, and is utterly delicious? Here at Donald Russell, in our latest love affair with the food traditions of Italy, we’ve fallen head-over-heels for fine filled pasta.

I’m talking supple sheets of fresh egg pasta, rolled thin, then cut, smoothed and pressed around classic Italian combinations of meats, vegetables, fresh herbs and classic cheeses. These little pasta dumplings are hand made by artisans to taste just like they they’d been lovingly rolled and formed on the flour-dusted kitchen table of an Italian mama!

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You can forget about those clammy, stodgy, tinned squares from past decades – these are worlds apart! Pretty much the only thing these polar opposites share is the name ‘ravioli’, which is used in some provinces to describe all filled pasta. This tradition is expansive: there are as many variations as there are villages in Italy, with fillings, shapes and sizes differing from region to region.

We’ve selected our favourite four for you to enjoy at home: three in a classic ‘mezzelune’ half-moon shape, and one in an unusual ‘triangolo’ or triangular form. Each pack serves one as a satisfying main course, or two as a starter. The fillings come in a range of classic Italian flavour combinations…

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Ravioli Pesto e Pinoli

Artisan filled pasta, given the Genoese treatment. Bite through the tender mezzeluna shape to discover fresh basil pesto, with extra pine nuts, kept in delicious nutty chunks.

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Ravioli Peperonata

An explosion of sun-drenched flavour is waiting in each semi-circular dumpling of fresh egg pasta! Ripe roasted Mediterranean peppers, gently warmed with just a hint of chilli.

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Ravioli Ragù e Melanzane

Forget what you know about beef and tomato ravioli – this is a different species entirely! Rich, meaty, Italian-style beef ragù, with sweet onion and melt-in-the-mouth aubergine.

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Ravioli Triangolo Spinaci

The classic combination of spinach and ricotta, with a triangular twist. Stuffed with wilted baby spinach leaves and a blend of creamy, smooth cheeses, including Italian provolone.

Together they form a delicious ‘rustico’ selection, ideal for bringing some fresh Italian flavour to your weeknights. In fact they’re so quick and convenient to serve, you could even enjoy them for a speedy lunch – their gorgeous fillings mean there’s no need for sauces, either!

Simply tip the frozen pasta into a pan of boiling water. After just 5 brief minutes it’ll be a perfect ‘al dente’. For an authentic Italian serving, toss them in a little melted butter – delizioso!

Pass the grated Parmigiano…
Petra Pennington

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Corrie Cheyne

25th January marks the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet, Rabbie (Robert) Burns – writer of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as well as other favourites like ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ and ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’.

All over the globe, people gather to celebrate this date in the form of a ‘Burns Supper’ – an evening of poetry, music, whisky, laughter and of course, great food.

A Burns Supper is an entertaining affair, centred around a main course of Haggis, Neeps (mashed swede) and Tatties (mashed potatoes).

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People sit down to the table and the ‘Selkirk Grace’ is recited:

Some hae meat an’ canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae lat the Lord be thankit.

(Some have meat and cannot eat
Some would like to eat but have none
But we have meat, and we can eat
So let the Lord be thanked)

The haggis is ‘piped in’ by a bagpiper, and cut open to the words of Burns’ famous ‘Address to a Haggis’. In this, he calls the haggis ‘Great Chieftan o’ the puddin’ race!’ – a description with which we’re inclined to agree ! The haggis is dramatically slashed open and served up.

Drams of whisky are raised in toast, and everyone tucks into their meal. After the dessert, one of Burns’ poems or songs is recited, and a tribute speech known as the Immortal Memory is given.

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Another recital, and then the ‘Toast to the Lassies’ is given by one of the male diners. This is usually written by the performer, and tends to revolve around a humorous look at femalekind.

One of the Lassies then replies in ‘The Lassies’ Response’ – again, usually written for the occasion and frequently an affectionate dig at the males of the species. After one further Burns recital, the evening is rounded off with a lively rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, with everyone singing along and crossing hands in the chorus.

Why not invite a few friends round for your own Burns Supper? We’ll get you off to a great start with the haggis and tatties … We’ve even got some amazing Beef Olives stuffed with Haggis, or if you fancy something a little less traditional, give our Speyside Chicken Supremes recipe a go!

Yours aye,

Corrie

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