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I think we can all agree that Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world and definitely one of the most beloved - pizza, pasta, gelato, aperitivo, mozzarella on anything. It's true that a lot of the Italian dishes we eat regularly have been altered and anglosized in many ways, often unintentionally solely because of the ingredients we have easy access to here in the UK. That's why I'm such a fan of Ciao Gusto who you've seen me work with quite a few times now!

Picking up all your favourite authentic Italian food and drink has never been easier with the Ciao Gusto Italian Deli at Ocado.  

For the first time, a simple tab brings together over 30 of Italy’s most popular brands, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for – and discover new and exciting ingredients – in just one click. 

You’ll be familiar with many products, such as Riso Gallo, Filippo Berio, Giovanni Rana and Cirio who are joined by products less well known in the UK such as Valsoia dairy free ice cream, Auricchio cheeses and Negroni charcuterie – everything you’ll find at the Ciao Gusto Italian Deli has been specially selected for its reputation as an authentic Italian favourite.

Here’s a full list of the Italian brands you’ll discover at the Ciao Gusto Italian Deli:

Pasta - Barilla, Rana
Rice - Riso Gallo
Flours - Polenta Valsugana
Tomato and Vegetable Conserves - Cirio
Cheese and Dairy - Auricchio, Parmareggio
Fish - Delicius, Medusa
Herbs and Spices – Cannamela
Tuna - Rio Mare
Cured Meats - Negroni
Soya and Rice products - Valsoia
Olive Oil - Filippo Berio
Vinegar - Ponti
Bakery - Colussi, Misura,
Dried fruits – Noberasco
Jams - Santa Rosa
Coffee - Lavazza
Herbal Teas - Bonomelli
Water and Fruit Juices - San Benedetto, Santal
Wine - Zonin, Santa Margherita
Spirits - Vecchia Romagna
Cherries and Syrups - Fabbri

One of the things that makes Italian food so good is the quality of their produce, so being able to get hold of truly delicious ingredients with my weekly shop feels like such a blessing! I've tried many of the products from Ciao Gusto's range, but when the team asked me to try out some cheeses by Auricchio that I'd never had before I was really excited. Cheese excited. You know, one of the best kinds of excited.

After browsing the shop I decided to try the Auricchietto which is a milk white cheese with a provolone like texture and their Mozzarella Cherries because, well, I just love me some mozz. At first I was thinking of a salad as a great vehicle for these dairy beauties, but when the weather turned grey I knew what I really wanted was something warm and comforting so I decided to create what would be a great starter, main alongside some salad leaves or even a fab picnic addition if eaten cold - filo pastry pies filled with these cheeses alongside thinly sliced tomato and a bruschetta topping mix of olive oil cooked vegetables.

Despite the use of filo pastry which can seem daunting (honestly it isnt, you just need to keep it under a damp tea towel when not using it and brush on melted butter as you layer) these pies are really just a construction job made from delicious premade ingredients that yut then throw in the oven for 25 minutes. They're a cinch to put together and could be made a bit ahead of time if needed so if you're having people round for dinner anytime soon this could be a winning addition to your menu.

Italian Cheese Filled Filo Pies
Makes 8 single portion pies

1 x Auricchio Formaggio Dolce e Morbido Cheese (270g)
1 x 150g Tub Auricchio Mozzarella Cherries, drained
16 leaves of Filo Pastry (this is usually found in the chilled section near the butter)
1 x jar of Bruschetta Topping (I used this one)
8 small, ripe tomatoes
125g unsalted butter, melted
good quality salt and freshly cracked black pepper
olive tapenade or balsamic glaze for serving

First preheat your oven as per the instructions on your filo pastry. 

The pie construction is much easier if you prepare everything before starting, so first peel the wax coating from the Aurecchietto then divide it into 8 slices before cutting each of those into chunks - I did six chunks per slice of cheese. Drain your mozzarella cherries, open up your bruschetta topping and get a spoon ready for it, then slice your small tomatoes into as thin slices as you can. Melt the butter and get a pastry brush ready to use with it and then finally unwrap your filo dough and cover it with a clean, damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.

Have your baking tray ready to one side and a clean surface to work on, then grab your first layer of filo pastry. Brush it generously with melted butter and then top it with another sheet of dough. Now take an eighth of your bruschetta topping and spread it evenly in the middle of the dough - imagine the dough is nine squares in 3 x 3 formation, you want to fill that middle square. Now top with your other ingredients - cubes of the aurichietto, torn mozzarella cherries and thin slices of tomato. Season with salt and pepper and then fold one the top edge of the pastry down to cover the filling. Brush the top of the folded down filo with butter, then fold the bottom edge up to cover that. Again brush the top with the melted butter before folding the two side pieces of dough over the middle, one on top of the other. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross into the dough that is deep enough to go through to the filling, then brush the top with butter and grind over a little more pepper for an attractive finish. Now pop it onto your baking tray and repeat with the remaining ingredients to make seven more pies.

Once the pies are all formed, bake them in your preheated oven until crisp and golden. Mine took about 25 minutes, but the packaging of your filo dough will also guide you on how long it will take.

Serve the pies warm with some nice freash salad leaves. We really enjoyed them with a little olive tapenade or balsamic glaze to cut the richness a little, but they were still a delight without them!


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