Gino’s family cookbook highlights rustic Italian fare

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When Gino Pastorelli received a recipe book as a birthday gift he had no idea it would lead to his very own cookery title.

But now the builder is preparing to release Trulli Pugliese, an Italian cookery book that links the success of his family’s historic city scooter business with his rich heritage.

Grandfather Gino was born in Sheffield to an Italian father, and spent much of his childhood visiting relatives in sun-soaked medieval Oria, Puglia, in southern Italy, with his three brothers.

“We grew up half English, half Italian, with one foot in each country”, said Gino, now aged 58.

“I was brought up in Sheffield but we spent a lot of time in Italy as children, and I learned to cook with my grandparents in Italy on Nonno and Nonna’s farm, surrounded by wild aromas of wild oregano and rosemary.”

Gino - who worked in several Sheffield Italian restaurants when he was younger - always held the traditional dishes he learned as a child close to his heart.

Ten years ago he bought a house in the village where his father was born, and was asked to give cooking lessons or share food tips to the ex pat community.

But it was when he started to write them down that the family realised the potential for sharing the authentic cuisine to a wider audience.

They realised that few cookbooks feature the rustic, traditional recipes of Puglia.

Gino added: “My daughter bought me one of those blank recipe books you can put your own recipes in as a birthday present and asked me to put in some family dishes from over the years

“I did and then my wife thought we could do something more with them - they are all authentic and have been passed down from my grandparents and their parents.”

Trulli Pugliese features mainly traditional family meals with simple dishes such as chickpea broth, fresh prawns and farfalle pasta in more than 100 recipes.

Its name references both the name of the traditional dwellings native to the Puglia region but also truly, as in real and genuine.

The book, published by Melrose Books, will be launched on May 13 at the 60th anniversary of the historic family business Armando’s Scooters, on Randall Street near Bramall Lane, which is now run by Gino’s brothers Guido and Giulio.

Gino added: “There are over 100 recipes in the book - everything from vegetarian dishes and meat through pasta.

“They are all authentic and from the real heart of Italy in the Puglia region.

“It is my wish that through the recipes in this book you can bring to your table a taste of Italy – not only through the flavour, but by sharing, cooking and eating with your loved ones.”