Antonio Peluso is a chef and entrepreneur who, much like a poker player, has gone ‘all in’ on baccalà , the salted or dried cod (stoccafisso) that Italians and especially Neapolitans, are crazy about. In a relatively short period of time he has managed to open four restaurants, write a recipe book and ultimately defy the crises of Corona-virus.

To celebrate these culinary accomplishments, I decided to translate some of His recipes into English, should any English-speaking chef or passionate cook want to try their hand at them.


Pumpkin Flowers stuffed with Baccalà and Ricotta

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 300g (10oz) of Baccalà, de-salted and with no bones
  • 12 large pumpkin flowers
  • 150g (5oz) of Ricotta
  • 20g (3/4oz) of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil (sufficient quantity)
  • Salt (add to taste)
  • Pepper (add to taste)


  • Rinse the flowers and dry them with paper
  • Gently fry the diced Baccalà in a pan with a little oil, add pepper and leave it to cool down.
  • In a bowl, mix the ricotta with salt, pepper, egg and shredded basil leaves. Then add the Baccalà together with the grated Parmesan.
  • Using a spoon, stuff the flowers with the mixture. Put the stuffed flowers in a baking tin, cover them with silver foil, put them in a pre-heated oven at 180c (350f) for about 12 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 3 minutes.
  • Leave to rest for a few minutes and serve still hot.

First Course

Cheese n Pepper Rigatoni with Baccalà

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 300g (10oz) of Baccalà, de-salted and with no bones
  • 320g (11oz) or pasta, rigatoni format
  • 120g (4oz) of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 40g (1.5oz) of Pecorino Romano in chips
  • 100g (3.5oz) of butter
  • Pepper in abundance
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil (sufficient quantity)
  • Salt (add to taste)


  • To make the sauce, gently melt the butter and grated cheese together, adding a ladle of hot water, and pepper to taste.
  • Let the diced Baccalà simmer in a pan with Evo oil till golden.
  • Cook the rigatoni in abundant salted hot water.
  • Strain the rigatoni ‘al dente’ (not overcooked!!!) then put them in the pan with the Baccalà and sear them slowly adding the sauce.
  • Serve adding the Pecorino in chips.

Note: Chees and pepper rigatoni are an ancient Roman recipe, very simple, but difficult to get right.

Second Course

Fried Baccalà

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 4 large pieces of Baccalà, 300g (10oz) each, already de-salted and with no bones
  • Flour, type 00
  • For frying: abundant oil (sunflower oil is ok)
  • For garnishing: 1 fresh lemon


  • Heat the oil in a tall casserole
  • Dry the pieces of Baccalà with a cloth and coat them in flour. Immerse them in the oil and fry for about 8 minutes.
  • Lift the Baccalà out of the oil, let it rest for 5 minutes, then fry it for another 5 minutes.
  • Dry the oil in excess with a paper napkin and serve with a quarter piece of the lemon.

Savoury cheesecake

Baccalà Cheesecake

Ingredients for 4 people

For the base:

  • 100g (3.5oz) of Taralli biscuits made with Olive Oil (Taralli are traditional Neapolitan savoury biscuits, usually made with lard)
  • 70g (2.5oz) of butter

For the cheesy part:

  • 300g (10oz) of Baccalà, de-salted and with no bones
  • 100g (3.5oz) of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 150g (5.5oz) of Roman Ricotta
  • ½ litre (a little less than a pint) of milk
  • 1 leaf of laurel
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt (add to taste)
  • Pepper (add to taste)
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oli (sufficient quantity)


  • Pour the milk in a casserole together with the laurel leaf and an unpeeled clothe of garlic.
  • Add in the Baccalà and heat for about 15 minutes, take it out, strain it and leave it to cool down.
  • In a bowl, gently mix the ricotta with the Baccalà, using a spoon, then garnish with salt and pepper.
  • Cut the dried tomatoes in strips.
  • For the base, reduce the biscuits to dust in a mixer, gently melt the butter, add it to the biscuits, still using the mixer to make it smooth.
  • Brush 4 cupcake moulds with oil and add a layer of tomatoes on the bottom.
  • Add the Ricotta and Baccalà mixture up to 1.5cm (1/2 inch) from the brim.
  • Add the final layer of Taralli and butter, press down, put in fridge to cool for 30 minutes, before taking the cheesecakes out of their moulds.

I hope you enjoyed this selection, there will be more to come. Should anyone succeed in making some of the dishes, I would love you to send us a picture.

Did you know?

In Italian ‘sguardo da pesce lesso’, the ‘boiled fish look’ is that stunned kind of look that we associate with Stallone’s face and look in some of his early movies. Would Rambo eat Baccalà? Who knows?!

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Sean Altamura

Half English / half Italian, I was born in Naples and named after S. Connery. I am a naturally curious person and I have taken on many interests throughout my life. I am an English teacher. However, I love travelling and I have visited many countries spanning five continents. I became involved in food a few years ago, when I organised an English lesson focussed on Cheese Tasting. Since then, I have become a Cheese Taster (Onaf), and a Youtuber, shooting many videos about food. I am greatly honoured to be collaborating with La Buona Tavola, and I hope I’ll be able to share many interesting stories and experiences with our Readers.
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