LEE CONETTA is Glasgow food royalty. Each week, she shares fantastic recipes and memories of her life here in the city and her travels to Italy and beyond.

This week, in the first of a two-part story, Mrs Conetta recalls the first time she met the man who would become her husband and takes us on a journey from Shawfield Stadium to Italy’s sunkissed coast.

Glasgow Times:  Cooking With Mrs Conetta. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Her fantastic recipe this week is a delicious steak dish inspired by her continental travels….

IT was, of course, food that brought Joe and I together.

We met at a friend’s 21st birthday party at Shawfield Stadium on the south side of Glasgow. At the end of the night, as we were preparing to go home, Joe said he was hungry, so I invited him home to make him something to eat.

It all started from there.

We got engaged in 1967 at Lomond Castle on the banks of the loch, and were married a year later at St Columbkille’s church in Rutherglen. The reception was in the Central Hotel in Glasgow and it was so hot that day, that three people fainted at the wedding. The next morning, we were off on our honeymoon, to the beautiful Italian isle of Sicily.

Glasgow Times: Mario Lanza

We set off in Joe’s Sunbeam Alpine and before we reached the motorway, spotted Joe’s father.

Tony Conetta, with his handsome face, smart sunglasses and white Jaguar, was a dashing figure, the heart-throb of London Road. He stopped to wish us a pleasant journey and I couldn’t help myself - I turned a hundred shades of red and smiled feebly…

Glasgow Times:

We stayed the first night in Lodi, outside Milan and the next night in Heidelberg at the Europahof Hotel. The next morning, much to Joe’s consternation, I asked the waiter which square the brass band played in.

You see, in the film The Student Prince, Mario Lanza sang a song called Summertime in Heidelberg and it went:

“When it’s summertime in Heidelberg/There’s beauty everywhere/All the trees are dressed in their Sunday best/And the brass band plays in the square…”

Joe looked at me, horrified. The waiter was very gracious though, and said simply that there were many squares, and many brass bands, nearby. I was blushing again....

I wondered if Joe was already regretting his decision to marry me.

We travelled down to Italy and on the Autostrada del Sole (the Sun Motorway, the oldest European highway) we stopped for lunch outside Rome in a beautiful trattoria.

READ MORE: How Robert Downey Jr introduced me to a tasty fish dish...

We were so young and naïve. I remember we ordered two ‘mozzarella de buffalo’ which we thought meant big buffalo steaks, as we were both starving. Turned out it was two round cheeses. I could not stop laughing.

In Naples, we got the ferry called the Canguro Rosso to Palermo in Sicily, happy and full of love after all these daft encounters, not knowing that the biggest adventure of our honeymoon was yet to come…

This week’s recipe is for Tagliata di Manzo – a real ‘beefsteak’ this time, not a round of cheese. Enjoy!

Glasgow Times: Tagliata di Manzo. Pic: Colin Mearns


60 g salted butter

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

50g rocket leaves

80g semi dried tomatoes in oil, drained

2 tablespoons extra virgin oil

2 rib -eye steaks, about 150g

sea salt flakes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Put the butter in a small bowl with the black pepper and beat together well.

Transfer to a sheet of cling film, roll into a cylinder and twist the ends before putting in the fridge.

After about two hours, take off the cling film and cut into one-centimetre rounds. Return to the fridge.

Put the rocket and the tomatoes in a bowl, add the oil and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Toss together and arrange on a flat plate.

Brush both sides of the steak with oil. Place in a frying pan or a cast iron char grill over a high heat.

Fry for two to three minutes, or a little more if preferred. Press down with a fish slice – do not move the steaks around. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes, turn over and fry for a further two to three minutes.

Remove the steaks from the pan and let them rest for two minutes.

To serve, cut steak diagonally into slices about one centimetre thick and arrange on top of the rocket and tomatoes.

Place the butter on top of the steaks, drizzle a little cooking juice from the pan on top and serve. Buon appetito.