We go to Bruno’s family home every Sunday without fail for the big Sunday lunch which is a big loud boisterous family affair with lots of shouting, laughing and some good vino. It always amazes me as the whole family are there every Sunday and they wouldn’t miss it for the world, they’re never even tempted to go to a restaurant for a change because it wouldn’t be as good as “mamma” makes.  There’s probably about 13 to 16 of us every week. On Christmas day there was 20 of us!! My mother in law prepares the whole lot single handily after putting down a tough week working in the family restaurant La Piccola Italia and Saturday night is their busiest night, it’s booked out about 2 weeks in advance these days.

 This is no ordinary lunch either, we always have pasta(sometimes home-made) with home-made tomato sauce followed by Italian sausage and veal meatballs, roast lamb and fillet of beef with roast potatoes and either broccoli or french bean salad on the side. Dessert is usually fresh strawberries and ice-cream and bruno’s 7 year old nephew always makes the espresso after. Now I’m able to cook but if I had to cook for 16 people I think I might be just a little stressed, but it doesn’t phase her one bit. That’s the thing about Italian mammas it’s all so natural to them, they don’t need scales or cook books and they make it look so easy.

I mentioned this french bean salad in my spring lamb post, it’s really good as a “contorno” to meat dishes.


  • french green beans – I usually buy 2 packets in the supermarket
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • salt
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt


 In Ireland we tend to eat our vegetables al dente (crunchy) and our pasta soft. It’s the opposite in Italy, they eat their vegetables quite soft and their pasta with a bite to it.

 – bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt and your beans

 – cook for 20-25 mins until soft

 – drain and put in a large bowl.

 – add your garlic cloves and dress with salt, vinegar and olive oil to taste.  You can add black pepper if you like!

 – serve with lamb, beef or any meat dish.

 – for a really nice salad in the summer we add diced boiled potatoes and boiled eggs and eat it with some crunchy baguettes “Buonissimo”

Buon Appetito!!