“We are used to going to the supermarket and going to places to buy our food – to touch it, to smell it,” the TV chef says of his hometown in Naples, Italy.

“In the last 30 years that I’ve been here, I’ve always been thinking: why do these people buy everything in a plastic bag? Why do they buy so much stuff they don’t need?”

“It’s crazy to think that anyone would go and buy a bag of peppers, without touching them, without smelling them – and without even thinking what they’re going to do with these backup peppers.

“The majority of people need one or two peppers, but they go into the supermarket, they go into the corner shop and they pick up a bag where there are seven, eight peppers. They use three and then they throw away six.

“I’m thinking: do you really know what you’re doing here? Do you know how much money you’re wasting?”

For D’Acampo, the issue isn’t just food waste – but home cooks could benefit from paying a bit more attention to the fruit and veg they buy.

So what can you do to minimise waste in the kitchen? Buying loose fruit and veg is a start, so you only have what you need.

D’Acampo’s adds: “The best thing that anyone who is in the kitchen [can do] is to learn recipes that you can use leftovers [in]”.

Why not try some of Gino’s top recipes to use up left overs?

1. Zuppa di verdure


(Serves 6)

3tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

200g canned cannellini beans, drained

250g potatoes, chopped into 2cm chunks

200g dark green cabbage

400g can of chopped tomatoes

200g French beans, finely chopped

2L vegetable stock, made with stock cubes

120g dried conchigliette pasta (baby shells)

4tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

60g finely grated pecorino cheese, to serve

Credits: PA;


1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onions, carrots and celery for 10 minutes, or until they are just golden.

2. Add the cannellini beans, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, French beans and stock, and bring to the boil.

3. Reduce the heat, half-cover the saucepan with the lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove the lid, add the pasta with the parsley and continue to cook over a medium heat for a further 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste (I like to add half a teaspoon of pepper).

5. Check that all the vegetables are tender and the pasta is cooked and serve immediately in warmed bowls, with a sprinkle of pecorino cheese on top.

2. Insalata semplice di pasta con pollo, prosciutto e pesto rosso


(Serves 4-6)

400g dried fusilli pasta

150g broccoli florets

100g green beans, trimmed and halved

5tbsp good-quality mayonnaise

3tbsp good-quality shop-bought red pesto

1 large red onion, peeled and finely sliced

1 large red apple, cored, cut into 1cm chunks

8 basil leaves, torn in half

150g cold chicken breast, cut into 1cm chunks

150g thick slice of ham, cut into 1cm chunks

5 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

4tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Credits: PA;


1. Fill a medium saucepan with water, add one tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the pasta and cook for two minutes less than instructed on the packet, giving you a very al dente bite, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, drain in a large colander and rinse under cold water to stop it cooking. Leave to drain in the sink while you prepare the vegetables.

2. Fill the same saucepan with water and one tablespoon of salt and again bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the broccoli and boil for one minute. Add the beans and boil for a further two minutes. Meanwhile, pour the drained pasta into a large bowl.

3. Remove the broccoli and beans from the heat and drain in the same colander you used to drain the pasta. Rinse under cold water and leave to drain in the sink.

4. Place the mayonnaise, pesto, red onion, apple, basil, chicken, ham and half a teaspoon of pepper into the bowl with the pasta. Sprinkle in one teaspoon of salt and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the cooled broccoli and beans.

5. Place the pasta salad on a large serving platter. Sprinkle over the spring onions and drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately, or place in the fridge until needed. Please remember always to serve this at room temperature, to appreciate the flavours of each ingredient.

3. Risotto cremoso con zucchine, piselli e peperoni


(Serves 4-6)

8tbsp olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1tsp roughly chopped thyme leaves

1 large yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped into 1cm cubes

1 large courgette, chopped into 1cm cubes

500g Arborio or Carnaroli rice

150ml dry white wine

1.5L hot vegetable stock, made with stock cubes

200g frozen peas, defrosted

60g salted butter

60g finely grated Parmesan cheese

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Credits: PA;


1. Pour the oil into a large heavy-based saucepan, place over a medium heat and fry the onion, thyme, pepper and courgette for 10 minutes until soft, stirring with a wooden spoon.

2. Add the rice and fry for three minutes, stirring to allow the hot oil and vegetables to coat the grains. Stir in the wine and cook for a further minute, allowing the alcohol to evaporate.

3. Pour in a couple of ladles of hot stock and bring to a simmer.

4. Reduce the heat and continue to cook and stir until all the stock is absorbed. At this point, please stay with the saucepan, because you need to keep stirring the risotto.

5. Stir in the peas. Pour in the rest of the stock, a little at a time, cooking until each addition is absorbed before you add the next. It will take 18–20 minutes and you may not need to add all the stock.

6. Once the rice is cooked, take the pan off the heat and add the butter, Parmesan, two teaspoons of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper.

7. Stir all together for 20 seconds, allowing the risotto to become creamy and all the ingredients to combine properly.

8. Serve on warmed plates and enjoy.