Eataly for those who don’t know is a combination of the words Eat and Italy that means ‘eating the Italian way’. Eataly is a physical eating destination with 42 shops in 17 countries. It is also an exquisite cookbook that begs to be displayed, not hidden and to be used, not saved. 

Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking gives the home cook the opportunity to discover and rediscover the excellence of Mediterranean cooking and reproduce authentic Italian dishes at home. This comprehensive guide contains recipes that are mostly quick and easy to prepare but they also embrace the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement where  the focus is on local, high-quality ingredients made with love. It is simply my kind of cookbook. 

With 14 chapters and hundreds of recipes there is something for everyone inside this cookbook. From antipasti to soups, fresh pasta to seafood, breads to vegetables and everything in between. No matter your dietary preferences you’ll find dozens of recipes to try. I found myself bookmarking both recipes I want to make (soft cod ball, fresh pea soup, osso bucco and potato focaccia) and recipes I want to use as inspiration to create dishes that fall into my dietary preferences (a tuna pasta, baked chicken rolls and tortellini in broth). At the beginning of each chapter there’s introductory pages which also guide you on cooking methods like cooking pasta and rice, enabling you to learn the basics. 

Food Unites us all

The recipe I am sharing is the pesto and cherry tomato pie, selected because it’s different to what I usually share, is something you can make ahead of time and keep and quite frankly looked delicious. It has a shortcuts pastry dough and is filled with pesto, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan. It’s deceptively simple to make (yes even that deliciously flaky pastry dough!) and utterly irresistible, so don’t be surprised when you keep coming back for more. While it’s best enjoyed right out of the oven, hot and flaky it is the kind of pie you can keep, reheating slices as you wish. 

Eataly is published by Phaidon and distributed in South Africa by Jonathan Ball Publishers. You can find it here.

Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking

A flaky pastry tart filled cherry tomatoes and pesto from Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking
Dietary: No Added Sugar, Vegetarian


For the shortcrust pie dough

  • 1 2/3 cups type 00 flour, plus extra for dusting (200g)
  • 7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces (100g)
  • pinch salt

For the Filling

  • 50 grams fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnuts
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • salt


  • Sift the flour into a mound on the countertop, make a well in the center, and put the butter, salt, 2 tablespoons iced water into this. Work the ingredients together quickly with your fingertips and then use your knuckles to make a smooth dough. Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Make the pesto by blending the basil, oil and Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, hazlenuts and a pinch of salt in a food processor until very smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 180?. Line a 9 inch/24cm baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overlap the sides of the dish.
  • Roll out two-thirds of the pie dough on a lightly floured countertop and use it to line the prepared baking pan. Spread the pesto evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell, place the tomatoes, cut-side up, on top od the pesto, and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. Roll out the remaining pie dough, cut it into strips, and use to decorate the top of the tart with a lattice of pie dough.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Recipe is reprinted with permission from the publisher. Images are by Nutreats Food Photography Studio

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