A 75 year old lunch!

I wrote a previous article in an edition of Cranleigh Magazine, where I recounted my memories of September 1943, 75 years ago. Here is a recipe of a standard Sunday Lunch we had in our home. It was the best we could get at the time and consisted mainly of home produced ingredients giving a nutritional well balanced meal. The stock was produced with home reared chickens with the addition of some purchased beef bones and fresh vegetables from our garden. This menu is simple, different, wholesome and easy to reproduce. A 3 course meal for 4 people.

PASTINA IN BRODO (Small pasta in broth) (Serves 4)

1 litre of Chicken stock. *
100g of passata.
100g of anellini pasta
50g Parmesan cheese freshly grated
* Should you wish to have my recipe for this stock, contact me at:

1. Boil the stock with the tomato passata
2. Drop in it the anellini pasta (or any kind you wish)
3. Cook until the pasta is tender but “al dente”. (4-5 minutes)
4. Serve very hot with the cheese and crusty bread rolls


POLLO E PEPERONATA (Saute` chicken with Ratatouille) (Serves 4)

1 x 1.5kg Chicken
(breasts, separated from the carcase)
1 Large onion sliced
6 Cloves of garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped
3 Sticks of celery (the Italian variety is green and leafy) chopped
3 Red/green sweet peppers (Capsicum) sliced
1 Large aubergine sliced
500g of tomatoes (the best are the large “beef steak” ones) roughly chopped
500g of potatoes peeled and sliced
30g of chopped mixed herbs (rosemary, sage, oregano, parsley and basil)
30 mls of oil
30 g of lard
150 mls of dry white wine
100mls of chicken stock

1. Cut the breasts in 2 and separate the thighs from the drumsticks
2. Use a large casserole type of pan that can be placed in the oven and afterwards on the table with a lid. (I like the “le creuset” type)
3. Heat half the oil and lard and saute`chicken until golden, season it and keep it hot.
4. In the same casserole heat the remainder of oil and lard, add vegetables stirring until boiling.
5. Add the white wine, reduce by half, then add the stock
6. Bring to the boil, reduce again, add half the herbs and season to taste
7. Place the chicken on top of the cooking
vegetables, cover with a lid.
8. Bring to the boil and place in a hot oven at 160ºc for 45 minutes.
9. Serve by placing the casserole without the lid, on a trivet on the table
10. Sprinkle the rest of the herbs on the chicken

FICHI FRESCHI E FORMAGGIO (Fresh figs and cheese) (Serves 4)

12 Ripe fresh figs
(the mauve coloured variety is the best)
200g blue cheese
(any soft cheese would be acceptable)

1. Wash the figs and make a cross incision on the plump part of them
2. Use 4 dessert plates.
3. On each place 50g of cheese in the centre and around it place the figs opened up where the cross cuts shows
4. Serve with it crusty bread rolls or galette
biscuits or what is your preference.
5. Butter can be served if that is your wish.

My father was very partial to end a Sunday lunch with this dish, especially in September, the month when the fig tree we had was in full fruit.

BUON APPETITO – Giovanni Fontebasso


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