How to Eat like a Local in Puglia

How to Eat like a Local in Puglia

Travelling to foreign countries opens so many doors. You can experience exotic climates, uncover cultural attractions and – perhaps most importantly for the foodies out there – you can dine exciting foreign cuisine. Here at Villa Plus, we’ve started a new project – Eat Like a Local – which shows you how to do just that.

We’ve partnered with a bunch of the UK’s best cookery schools to give you five recipes which’ll really give you a taste of Italy’s Puglia region. When you’re on a self-catering holiday in Puglia, you’ve got the chance to whip up some of the region’s most revered dishes – all from the comfort of your villa’s kitchen! Read five cookery school-approved recipes learn how to really Eat Like a Local.

L’atelier des Chefs – squid ink linguine with parsley

This London-based cookery school recently earnt TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, partly due to their exquisite level of expertise when it comes to cooking.

L’atelier des Chef’s squid ink linguine with parsley

Here’s head chef Chris Marriott’s take on a classic Italian dish…


500g linguini
Coarse salt
1 squid ink sachet
500g baby squid
1 garlic clove bulb
A bunch of washed, flat parsley
Black pepper
6 pinches of fleur de sel
100ml dry white wine
2 tomatoes
1 shallot
Olive oil


  1. Separate the squid’s body from the tentacles and head. Remove any cartilage, rinsing the squid tube under cold water to remove grit. Slice the body into half-centimetre thick rings.
  2. Peel and finely chop the garlic, remove the parsley leaves from the stalks and then finely chop them. Peel the tomatoes, cut them in half then remove the seeds and dice the flesh. Peel and finely chop the shallot.
  3. Boil a large saucepan of salted water, add the linguine and cook for six minutes.
  4. Heat some oil a frying pan on a moderate heat and fry the squid for four minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and parsley. Cook until the squid is golden brown then remove it from the pan. Add the shallots and deglaze with white wine.
  5. Put the squid ink in the pan along with the linguine. Cook until al dente, adding a little water if necessary. Return the squid to the pan to warm through. Serve up, topping the linguine with fresh tomato and a sprinkling of parsley.

Stay up to date with L’atelier des Chefs on their website and Instagram.

Beverley Glock Cookery School

Food writer Beverley Glock’s Buckinghamshire cookery school uses locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to make dishes you can easily repeat in your own home.

Beverley Glock Cookery School – aubergine parmigiana

Here’s how to make succulent aubergine parmigiana – the Beverley way.


Olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1kg fresh plum tomatoes, skinned and chopped
3 large aubergines
500g mozzarella cheese, ripped into pieces
100g flaked parmesan cheese
1 bunch fresh basil
Sea salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper before putting a lid on and leaving to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas 3/170 degrees Celsius, then slice the aubergines in slices roughly 1cm thick.
  4. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then fry them on a frying pan or griddle until they’re golden brown. Drain them on kitchen roll.
  5. Line a deep casserole with one layer of aubergines, followed by one of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with seasoning, basil leaves, torn mozzarella and parmesan flakes. Repeat for two to three layers.
  6. Cover with a lid and bake for between 45 minutes and one hour until the cheese is golden and melted on top with a bubbling tomato sauce underneath.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and green salad.

Stay up to date with Beverley on her blog and Twitter.

Exeter Cookery School

In 2000, Brits Jim and Lucy Fisher moved to France and set up their cookery school, CookinFrance. Following its success, they decided to move back to the UK in 2016, setting up Exeter Cookery School, sharing their passion for all things gastronomy with the county of Devon.

Exeter Cookery School – orecchiette with ragu sauce

Orecchiette, or ‘little ears’ as they’re sometimes known, are a hallmark of Puglian cuisine. They’re often served with a gutsy tomato-based sauce, just like this ragu…

Ingredients – ragu sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
500g beef or lamb mince
6 ripe vine tomatoes, diced
The juice and grated zest of half an orange
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Half a glass of good dry white or red wine

Ingredients: orecchiette

300g plain flour/ strong bread flour or durum wheat flour
2 medium eggs
5 egg yolks
1 level teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Flour for dusting


  1. Warm the oil in a roomy saucepan, then add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Sweat for five to ten minutes over a gentle heat until the onions become translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the mince in a little oil in a big frying pan until brown, stirring occasionally and breaking up the clumps
  3. Add the mince to the onion mixture then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for at least two – but preferably four – hours. Add some water from time to time if the sauce looks a little dry.
  4. Once its cooked, taste and add more salt if necessary.
  5. Tip the flour onto the work surface and make a large well in the centre. Pour in the eggs, egg yolks, salt and olive oil. Use either your fingers or the tines of a fork to bring the flour into the eggs until you have a stiff – but not too sticky – dough.
  6. Sprinkle both your hands with flour, then knead the dough for about five minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for half an hour.
  7. Pull off a tangerine-sized lump of dough, the re-cover the remaining pasta. Shape into a 1cm thick ‘snake’ then cut into 1cm pieces.
  8. Use the tip of a table or butter knife to smear the piece of dough on the un-floured worktop, maintaining a firm pressure at all times. The dough should roll up with its concave facing you. Pull this off the knife and turn it inside out, before sprinkling it with flour and setting it aside. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. Allow the orecchiette to dry for 30 minutes before cooking in plenty of boiling, well-salted water for three minutes (or until cooked through).

Keep up to date with Exeter Cookery School on Twitter and check out their website here.

Lemon & Soul Cookery School

Based in Hampshire, Lemon & Soul offer a range of classes to suit all ages, abilities and taste buds. The owner, Katarina Broadribb, draws influences from her Slovakian heritage as well as a large number of other countries.

Lemon & Soul Cookery School – ragout with wild mushrooms

Whet your appetite with Katarina’s recipe for ragout with wild mushrooms…


500g beef brisket
350g pappardelle
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 fennels, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 carrot, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
150ml full bodied red wine
150ml beef stock
4-5 tablespoons tomato puree
25g dried wild mushrooms
Sage, bay leaf
Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the brisket in one piece till seared. Set aside.
  2. Heat more oil in the pan and soften the fennels, leeks, onion, carrot and garlic for 12-15 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius and place the meat, sautéed vegetables, tomato puree, sage and bay leaf in a large tray. Cover with red wine and stock, cooking for a further three to four hours until the meat is tender.
  4. Remove the meat and shred using two forks.
  5. Soak the mushrooms in a small bowl for at least 10 minutes and add to the tray with vegetables
  6. Cook the pasta until it’s al dente, season to taste and stir through the pasta.

Follow Lemon & Soul on Twitter and get exclusive recipes from their website.

The Cooking Academy

Founded by Kumud Gandhi, The Cooking Academy teaches people how to prepare and cook worldly foods in both creatively and professionally, while also teaching pupils the health benefits of each and every dish. Classes range from small, family-friendly sessions to corporate training for hospitality workers.

The Cooking Academy – bacon, tomato and olive orecchiette

Red meat and tomatoes are a staple of Puglia’s cuisine, and as you can from this recipe, the essence of many dishes.


4 slices of bacon, cut into inches
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
½ a tablespoon chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can chopped tomatoes
Handful of black olives
400g orecchiette pasta
Grated parmesan for serving
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook for around four minutes, or until it begins to brown.
  2. Add the chopped onion, cooking until soft for 3-5 minutes. Throw in the crushed garlic and chilli flakes, cooking for a further minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the sauce to the boil, reducing to a simmer and cooking for a further 15 minutes or until the liquid is slightly reduced.
  5. Meanwhile, boil a large pan of water and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and return back to the empty pan.
  6. Add the sauce to the pasta, cooking over a medium heat and coating the pasta in sauce. Add olives and heat them up for a few minutes with the sauce.
  7. Serve with grated parmesan.

Keep up to date with The Cooking Academy on Twitter and check out their website.

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