4 delicious Italian recipes - made with gin!

Italy isn't just the home of fine wine and January's beautiful Sabatini Gin, it's also renowned for its buonissimo cuisine! For the ultimate Italian meal, we've rounded up a few classic recipes... and given them a ginny twist. Enjoy!

Penne alla Gin

The origins of the beloved ‘Penne alla Vodka’ are much disputed, but it is widely agreed that the dish was created in Italy before finding fame in 1980s America. In Italian cooking, grappa (a grape-based Italian liquor) is often used as an emulsifier, and in this Penne alla Gin dish you’ll find that your Sabatini Gin works quite the same way – additionally adding in the lovely botanical hints of olive leaves and thyme!

Penne Alla Vodka Recipe Gin

(Makes 10 servings)

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
820g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1kg penne pasta
125ml Sabatini Gin
4 tbsp butter
Salt, to taste
Optional: Parmesan cheese, to taste

Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the penne according to package instructions. Drain, cover and set aside when ready. Keep the large pot to hand for later.
  2. While your pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large pan or wok. Add garlic and onion to pan on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes, making sure not to let it burn.
  3. Add tinned tomatoes to pan and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the double cream and then take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the large pot you have set aside, then pour over the gin and add the butter. Toss in a pinch of salt.
  5. Tip your pasta into the pan with sauce.  Toss well until the pasta is evenly coated.
  6. To serve, pour the pasta into a large, warm serving bowl and grate fresh Parmesan on top, if desired.

Lemon GINna Cotta

Hailing from the northern region of Piedmont, panna cotta is a classic pud that you’re sure to find on the menu at any Italian fine dining establishment. But it’s incredibly simple to make at home, too! Thanks to its straightforward flavour profile, it and can take on any flavours you choose. This recipe coats luscious vanilla panna cotta in a lemon gin sauce, and will add some zing to your next meal.

Lemon Panna Cotta Gin Recipe

(Makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:

For the panna cotta:
5 tbsp skimmed milk
1 sachet unflavoured gelatine
600ml double cream
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

For the lemon gin sauce:
50g caster sugar
2 lemons, juiced
4 tbsp Sabatini Gin

Method:

  1. Begin your panna cotta by pouring milk into a small bowl and slowly stirring in the gelatine powder. Once all of the powder has been stirred in, set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together cream and sugar. Bring to a boil (watch out for rising cream!) and then add in the gelatine and milk mixture. Stir completely until fully combined. Stirring constantly, cook the cream for another minute or so.
  3. Remove cream mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla. Divide the mixture between six mini ramekins and let them cool at room temperature.
  4. When cool, cover the ramekins with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
  5. Before serving your panna cotta, make the lemon gin sauce by combining sugar, lemon juice and gin in a mixing bowl. Let sit until sugar fully dissolves, then pour over the panna cotta and garnish with desired fruit to serve.

Gin-Marinated Olives

Whether you’re fixing up an antipasti platter to serve before your meal or simply throwing together some snacks to enjoy alongside an evening aperitivo, you simply must include olives in the mix! The perfect platter can be a combination of anything you choose, but we like to include roasted red peppers, focaccia bread slices, grissini, buffalo mozzarella and – of course – a wide variety of charcuterie. Delizioso!  

Gin marinated Olives Antipasto Recipe 640x400.png

(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

240g mixed olives, drained
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lemon, thinly sliced
120ml olive oil
120ml Sabatini Gin
Fresh thyme, to taste
Fresh rosemary, to taste
Fresh oregano, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark 4
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together olives, garlic, herbs and lemon. Pour in olive oil and gin and mix well.
  3. Transfer olive mixture to a deep, oven-proof dish.
  4. Make sure olives are covered well (if more liquid is needed, add olive oil or gin).
  5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. When done, transfer to serving dish to include with your antipasti and enjoy!

Aubergine Parmi-GIN-a

Hearty Aubergine Parmigiana comes to us from the south of beautiful Italy, where credit for its creation is claimed by both Sicily and Campania (Parmigiana refers to the Parmesan cheese used in the recipe, not the origin of the dish). You’ll find this recipe in countless variations across the globe – but this slightly ginny take on the original is a Craft Gin Club favourite!

Aubergine Gin Parmesan Recipe 640x400.png

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 thyme sprigs
8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
4 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
50ml Sabatini Gin
3 tbsp granulated sugar

For the Aubergine Parmigiana:
6 large aubergines, sliced thinly lengthways
100g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
85g breadcrumbs
50g pine nuts
2 balls (250g) mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
Basil leaves, to garnish

Method:

  1. Prepare your sauce by heating olive oil in a large pan or wok. Add garlic and herbs and cook gently for a few minutes. Pour in tomatoes, red wine vinegar, gin and sugar and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat up a griddle or pan. Brush one slice of aubergine on both sides with olive oil and fry in batches, making sure to allow each slice to soften and char slightly. Continue until all aubergine is griddled.
  3. At this point, preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6.
  4. Take out a large baking dish and spread a thin layer of sauce. Layer a couple of aubergine slices on top of the sauce and season. Pour slightly more sauce onto the aubergine slices, then tear a few chunks of mozzarella and layer on top. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan and torn basil leaves on top of the mozzarella layer. Repeat this process until all the ingredients are used up, topping it all off with a layer of tomato sauce.
  5. Mix together Parmesan, bread crumbs and pine nuts in a small bowl. Toss some breadcrumbs and basil onto the mozzarella layer. Cover the top of the aubergine bake with the Parmesan breadcrumb mixture and bake.
  6. Bake your dish for 30-40 minutes until the top begins to golden. Let it rest for 10 minutes outside the oven. Garnish with basil leaves to serve.