MEET THE new Glasgow Times food columnist, Lee Conetta.

Every fortnight, in Cooking With Mrs Conetta, she will be sharing recipes and stories from her life as part of one of Glasgow’s biggest restaurant families.

If you would like to get in touch, email

This week, Mrs Conetta kicks things off with some Italian comfort food and a tribute to her much-loved grandfather....

Lee Conetta with some her dishes.. Pic Gordon Terris/TIMES.25/1//21.

EVERYTHING meaningful in my life has happened because of food.

My story begins, I suppose, more than a century ago when my grandparents, and my husband Joe’s grandparents, decided to emigrate from Italy to Scotland.

Joe’s grandparents came from Picinisco, and settled in London. Mine – Antonio and Maria D’Arpino – settled in Cambuslang, where they ran a chip shop called Tony’s.

I grew up in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, and my parents and grandparents were very well known in the area.

Many years ago, I was in Florida on holiday with Joe and some of our friends.

We were waiting in a restaurant, and it took such a long time for us to be served, we left, rather grumpily.

On our exit, my husband and our friends had already left, but a gentleman sitting at a nearby table stopped me and asked: “Is that a Scottish accent?”

When I said, yes, and told him I was from Rutherglen near Glasgow, he was amazed, as he was from Cambuslang.

We fell into conversation and when I explained my grandfather ran Tony’s fish and chip shop in Cambuslang, this gentleman became very emotional and told me to join him for a drink.

He explained his dad had been a miner, part of the Cambuslang Hamilton Road Miners who went on strike in the 40s.

They were determined, but the money was running out and their families were hungry. My grandfather, he told me, would fill up his ice cream barrel with fish suppers from the chip shop and visit all the striking miners’ homes, handing out the food.

Even then, Tony was not happy he was doing enough to help, so he helped families to pay their rent and even gave local children a football so they could play in the park and get fresh air.

Mrs Conettas late grandfather Tony DArpino

Mrs Conetta's late grandfather Tony D'Arpino

Joe came back shortly after to find me sitting, in tears, at a table with four strangers and wondered what on earth had happened.

READ MORE: Cooking with Mrs Conetta: Glasgow Times launches new food column

We all made a toast to my grandfather and his generosity and I have never forgotten that day in a Florida restaurant, hearing a story I did not know from a man I had never met, all about my Glasgow grandfather. It was very special.

Tony died in 1950 and my mother told me the whole of Cambuslang lined the streets on the day of his funeral. The church was overflowing with people who came to pay their respects. I wonder if any Glasgow Times readers remember my grandfather? I would love to hear their stories.

Today’s recipe is a favourite dish of my grandparents, one that is made for families to share together – proper Italian comfort food. It was always made with love and an essence of the area of Italy they left behind all those years ago.

Hope you enjoy.

Lee Conettas Beef Braciole. Pic Gordon Terris/TIMES.25/1//21.

Lee Conetta's Beef Braciole. Pic Gordon Terris/TIMES.25/1//21.


Preparation time: 30 mins. Cooking time: 105 mins


500g boneless beef, cut into four thin slices

4 slices prosciutto

3 tbsp of raisins

2 tbsp grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese

2 garlic gloves, chopped

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 cup red wine

2 tins Italian tomatoes

2 bay leaves

3 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

flour for dredging

salt and pepper to taste


1. Place each slice of beef between two sheets of wrap and pound until about half a centimetre thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay a slice of prosciutto on top of each one.

2. Mix together the raisins, paremsan, garlic and parsley and sprinkle evenly on top of each piece of beef. Roll up the slices, tucking in the ends and tie with kitchen string.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Dredge the braciole in flour, shaking off any excess, then place in the pan. Cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes, remove from pan and keep to the side.

4. If needed, add some more olive oil to the pan and add the carrots, onion and celery. Cook, stirring, until tender but not browned – about 10 minutes.

5. Add the red wine and cook until reduced by half – about two minutes.

6. Crush the tomatoes by hand and add to the saucepan. Fill one of the tins halfway with water and pour in to pan. Add the bay leaves and season.

7. Place the braciole back in the sauce, lower the heat and simmer until beef is tender – about an hour and a half.

8. Sprinkle the basil over the rolls, cook for a further two minutes then transfer to serving plates, spooning the sauce over the top.