Admit it – Italian food is rubbish

Every year I’m summoned to a gathering which I strive to avoid. My first cousin, who loves a boozy party, assembles the extended clan in an Italian restaurant for a convivial lunch. I fear that my list of excuses – ‘back pain’, ‘gout’, ‘baptism in Scotland’, ‘last-minute undercover journalism assignment’ – is wearing a bit thin and I’ll have to show up this year. No sane human could feel fondness for a cuisine whose leading dish, pizza, can’t be eaten with a spoon It’s not my relatives that I dislike. It’s the stuff on the plates. No sane human could feel any fondness for a cuisine whose leading dish, pizza,

The finest pasta in London

Why was it that when lockdown haunted our doors we all rushed out to buy pasta? Dry wheat in a bag in a funny shape. Cheap, yes, and ridiculously easy to cook. And, if the supermarket cheddar didn’t run out, very good with cheese. But still, pasta. Shouldn’t we have thought of something more inventive? Yet a spate of restaurants popping up round London with new enthusiasm now that we’re out and about again suggests that the Italian carb is enjoying a gourmet renaissance. Stevie Parle, founder of the fresh pasta restaurant Pastaio, speaks of pasta-making as an ‘obsession’. The satisfaction of ‘extruding pasta through bronze dies’ and ‘slow cooking delicious