MY MUM'S RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE WITH PORCINI MUSHROOMS
I am from Milan and grew up on risottos more than pasta as my father was from the nearby "risotto" region of Lombardy.
We probably had risotto two to three times a week and mum had at least four different varieties of rice in the pantry. This really brings me back to my childhood and I went as far as featuring this recipe in my own cookbook Luca's Seasonal Journey. In Milan, find great risotto alla Milanese at El Brellin (14 Alzaia Naviglio).
Luini's make the most amazing panzerotti – the best in the world since 1949. The queue at lunch time is super long but worth it. Panzerotti is like a calzone pizza being deep fried. Its crunchy and luscious on the outside and hollow and soft on the inside.
I still remember going there as a kid, especially when skipping school. It's usually one of my first stops every time I go back home. See luini.it
ORECCHIETTE MINCHIATA, OSTERIA MA.SI
It's a very humble trattoria bringing the best of the southern region of Puglia to Milan. They have the freshest mozzarella, the famous burrata and their meat and cold cuts selection is to die for. My recommendation comprises the famous ear-shaped pasta tossed with freshly chopped tomatoes, fresh rocket, celery, extra virgin olive oil, chilli and plenty of grated salted ricotta.
Of course I go there every time I go back home, and I even had my stag night there with 50 friends. It's a fun and loud place, but very, very relaxed.
SPAGHETTI AL CIPOLLOTTO, IL LUOGO DI AIMO E NADIA
A famous and prestigious two-star Michelin restaurant which is a family-run business with 50 years of history. I've had the privilege of working there and I'm still deeply in love with their concept. Nothing too fancy, cooking with simply the best of the best ingredients that money can buy. All suppliers would call us first with the best catch or meat on the market each day to see if we wanted to buy first. If not, they would then call the others. Real food, seasonal, and treated with the utmost respect. Their signature dish is spaghetti al cipollotto, a spaghetti with slowly cooked Tuscan red spring onions until they are almost caramelised. I know it sounds simple but it is amazing.
Peck is all about luxury, indulgence, extravagance. Milanese gastronomy with 132 years of history, placed right in the city centre near the Duomo cathedral, with the best and most unique produce and ingredients. It's a deli where you can buy anything you've ever dreamt of. The sky is the limit, or I should say your wallet is.
My recommendation would be to try their pates and terrines. They come in all different flavours combinations. See peck.it
One of the best Italian bakeries you'll ever find, with an amazing selection of sweets, breads and plenty more. There is lots of history in there but with a modern look. It's a great place for a cappuccino and brunch too. My pick would have to be their brioche and pastry cream doughnuts. See princi.com
MY MUM'S SPICED APPLE CAKE
Mum is still the best cook I know, and my main inspiration when it comes to food. She makes many cakes but her spiced apple cake is really amazing. Its a complex balance between spices like cinnamon and cloves creating a marriage with apples. Moist, soft and delicious. My brother and I would fight over the last slice always.
It's my mum's particular version of this cake with a recipe that has been handed down the generations, but you can find a generic version of it in most pastry shops in Milan.
After a stellar career across Europe and Australia, Luca Ciano joined Barilla Australia & Asia in 2008, where he established the Casa Barilla cooking school and has released a product range and cookbook Luca's Seasonal Journey. He is taking part in The Melbourne Festival of Nonna, October 8-10, at The Craft & Co Collingwood; and Sydney Festival of Nonna, October 22-26, at 107 Projects Redfern.