It’s all been really enjoyable telly but the Italy episode of the The Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation was a particularly good one for me. I generally prefer savoury to sweet baking and the emphasis was on bread and pizzas – obvious but it’s always worth repeating how simple and satisfying this stuff is to make.
The real highlight though was the PASTA PIE. It’s hard to beat a potato-filled butter pie and one of the best lunches I ever had was a tortilla sandwich bought in Barcelona so I’m a big fan of stuffing carbs inside more carbs.
The dish appears in The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi and looks amazing, involving a whole pile of chicken gizzards, livers and unlaid eggs piled into the mix. The version presented on the show, cooked by a restaurant chef, was more watered-down. Basically a macaroni cheese made with a rich bechamel, poured over a meat ragu (exact composition unknown) and enclosed in an egg washed pastry crust. Making it was a lengthy business and the HBs had to use the various WACKY ANTICS in their arsenal – resorting to some well-worn subtitle humour – to keep everyone’s spirits up during the dull bits. Showing an Italian chef using dried pasta was a nice touch and perhaps an intentional fuck you to more fayn dining-based shows.
The end result was a glorious-looking golden pie, filled to bursting with creamy meaty pasta goodness and very likely to make operating heavy machinery dangerous. It made the stromboli rolled pizza in the next segment seem more like a light snack, which was great as I was beginning to think I eat too many of ’em.