August is the month to get inspired to cook like an Italian Nonna, and serve heart-warming meals to your family and friends.

It’s not too hard to get Italian-inspired with a visit to 670 Chapel Street, South Yarra, just near the river. This one-stop foodie haven has everything you need to start mastering your new Mediterranean-inspired repertoire, and shopping is made simple with plenty of parking underneath.

Coming up the escalator, you will see lots and lots of colour coming from the fresh fruit, veggies and flowers at La Manna. This family-owned fruit shop–cum-delicatessen is a favourite amongst Melbourne cooks who love all things Italian. For August, we have 6 recipes to get you started on our Italian theme. Master these six recipes, and you could get the family title of Nonna!

One of our favourite winter entrees is Risotto alle Rape Rosse e Salsa al Gorgonzola or Risotto with Beetroot & Gorgonzola Sauce, recipe from Spiga Restaurant. Make sure you ask at La Manna for the best Italian risotto for your base, and choose some fresh beetroot and Italian gorgonzola to top it off.

Another inspired Italian entrée that your family will love is the Liquid Parmesan Ravioli with Butter & Sage from Pirata Restaurant. Ask the crew at La Manna for the best flour for making pasta – it makes all the difference! They also stock all other ingredients needed to make this simple pasta dish.

When it comes to great winter mains dishes – you can’t go past meatballs. Try cooking our great Pork and Veal Meatballs from Meatball & Wine Bar for something different. The secret to success is buying the best mince possible, and this is where the butchers at Cannings will help out. Make sure you tell them this is for meatballs – so you get the right amount of fat to hold the balls together!

If you’re out to impress, try making the Osso Bucco or Braised Veal Shanks with Bone Marrow, Saffron Risotto and Sauteed Spinach from Al Molo Ristorante Italiano. It doesn’t get much more Nonna than this! Ask the team at Cannings to cut the edge of the veal shank on the tendon part in 2-3 spots, as this will help stop the meat curling.

And for some typical Italian desserts, let’s make it simple. Panna Cotta is loved by everyone – but make sure it has enough of the wobble! Try our Coconut and Cinnamon Panna Cotta from Scarlett Restaurant for something different, and keep it in the moulds in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Everyone loves Sfinci di San Giuseppe from The Cups Estate which are a speciality of Palermo in Sicily, and are generally referred to as Sicilian Donuts. Traditionally, they were made on March 19 to celebrate the holy day of San Giuseppe (St Joseph), but now they are served as a treat all year round. Follow our simple instructions and choose to make your own ice cream from the recipe, or pick up a tub from Woolworths while you’re at 670 Chapel.

Of course, you can’t enjoy an Italian evening without some vino – so head over to Liquid HQ and ask for some special Italian wine that will match perfectly with your dinner, and will impress your dinner guests to enjoy with your new Italian cuisine. Now, it’s just time to learn some Italian words to go with your wonderful new gastronomic repertoire! You can find an app or two to listen to while you’re cooking to help with that!

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