Silvia Colloca shares her secrets to Italian cooking, Nonna style

Her favourite dish to make is easy to replicate!
Loading the player...

Silvia Colloca is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most loved Italian chefs, and her love of Italian food is replicated in herbook, Simple Italian: The Essentials of Italian Home Cooking, taking inspiration from her mother and nonna.

WATCH: Gnocchi Four-Way

In an exclusive chat with New Idea Food, Silvia dishes on her best cooking tips, her favourite recipe to make at home, and how it all brings the family together.

“I didn’t even know I was in love with cooking, it was just some language that was spoken in my family and it’s a language that is spoken in the culture I come from,” she says.

“I realised how important that language was and what kinds of landscape that painted inside me and then I just needed to recreate it and talk about it.”

Silvia Colloca nonna
Silvia takes inspiration from her mother and nonna when it comes to cooking. (Credit: Instagram)

Silvia speaks that language through her bonding time with her family, specifically by hosting a traditional family night every week.

“One of the weekend nights we do homemade pizza – it’s just great and fun,” she says.

She also reveals her easiest meal to make for her family is a mussel stew, and it’s her teenage son who loves it in particular.

“Last night I made it for him and he was like ‘Mum this is the best thing in the world but how much did this cost you to buy the ingredients’,” she explains.

“And I’m like ‘dude the mussels were like 12 bucks and it took me about 5 minutes’,” she quips.

Silvia hosts a weekly pizza night with her family. (Credit: Instagram)

She adds that her mussel dish is really the easiest and is ready in no time, as all you have to do is get some mussels, to which she says: “These days you can buy mussels that are pretty cleaned and scrubbed”.

She recommends that you remove the “hairy bits” that stick out, and stir fry some garlic and spring onion in a hot pan with some olive oil, add some lime, add the mussels, and you can also add in some tomatoes.

“And basically you put the lid on and in five minutes the mussels are open and when they open they release their own juices and so they mingle,” she says.

Her son’s favourite dish to eat is her mussel stew. (Credit: Instagram)

You’re then left with an “incredible soupy, amazing thing” that you just top up with bread. You can also cook some pasta in the sauce from the stew and serve it up just like that.

“You could even do instant soft polenta the one that takes one-minute and you could serve the stew on top of the soft polenta, which is delicious,” Silvia adds.

“But if you don’t want to be bothered use bread.”

Silvia Colloca
“There is nothing wrong with starting with a jar of store bought sauce and some fresh pasta that you buy.” (Credit: Instagram)

As for her tips for beginners, Silvia says to set the bar low and start with something that’s easy to make.

“There is nothing wrong with starting with a jar of store bought sauce and some fresh pasta that you buy and you just cook those things together and it’s sort of half way between a home-cooked meal and something that you bought,” she explains.

“It gives you a bit of the satisfaction that you get from making your own, then maybe the next time you buy the pasta but you make the sauce, and by then you might be interested in making your own pasta,” she adds.

Related stories