LEE Conetta is Glasgow food royalty, having built up and helped to run some of the city’s most famous restaurants.

For her occasional column in the Glasgow Times, she shares fantastic recipes and memories of her life here in the city and her travels to Italy and beyond.

This time, Lee recalls happy times in one of her favourite cities, and shares a dish that sounds a little like liver and onions, an old Glasgow favourite – but with a distinct twist….

Glasgow Times: Cooking with Mrs Conetta. Lee Conetta's presents her late summer recipes.. Liver and onions STY ..Pic Gordon Terris Herald & Times..27/7/22.

Venice is one of my most favourite places on earth.

Approaching this Italian city from the sea is magical, a fairy tale place which casts its spell on you. It’s like going back in time.

It is built on 400 bridges and has 3000 calli, as the narrow streets are called. Napoleon called Piazza Sans Marco “the living room of Italy”, and that’s exactly right – the whole world gathers there.

I have happy memories of visiting with Joe and my children, feeding the pigeons in the famous St Mark’s Square.

Glasgow Times: Cooking with Mrs Conetta. Lee Conetta's late husband Joe with her children in St Mark's Square in the 70s  STY ..Pic Gordon Terris Herald & Times..27/7/22.

On my most recent visit, my sister Phylis and I visited the fashionable Cafe Florian, the perfect place to stop. My sister enjoyed her usual cappuccino and cake while I plumped for a Campari soda.

We enjoyed the music and did some peoplewatching and when the bill arrived, we felt we might also need an oxygen mask. Our initial thought was that there had been a mistake and they had presented us with the rent for the entire building…but alas, no, it was correct.

Fortified but still somewhat shocked, we made our way through the interesting little alleyways, visiting wonderful churches and galleries. Marzarie, for example, displays some of the best Italian alta moda (fashion), plus beautiful Venetian chandeliers and Murano glass.

Venezia’s cuisine reflects the level of sophistication it reached during the golden age. Earthy and marine flavours exude from moist risotti, often married to vegetables, fish and meat. Fish is the basis of Venetian cuisine. Granseola, a typical antipasto, is poached crab dressed with olive oil, salt, a touch of pepper and lemon juice and presented in its shell. Venezia is a paradise for fish lovers.

Glasgow Times:

On the other islands, such as Murano, you can watch glass blowers at work, and in Burano, women create exquisite lace as they sit in front of their vividly painted houses. Torcello, perhaps the most enchanting of all the islands, is where Venezia began more than 1500 years ago.

Meanwhile, lunch in Locanda is fantastic – here, the food tends to be homely, consisting of gnocchi, tagliarini verde gratinati (green noodles gratin) and grilled meat or fish.

Today’s recipe is Fegato alla Veneziana – liver and onions but not as you know it. A recent survey by Sushi Daily found that today’s generation have never tried liver and onions, along with an array of other traditional British fare, like kedgeree and Baked Alaska.

Perhaps this will be a tempting way in for them to try it? Buon appetito.

RECIPE: Fegato alla Veneziana

Glasgow Times:


One large onion, finely sliced
Five tablespoons of olive oil
625g of calf’s liver, thinly sliced
Plain flour for dusting
Two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Splash of white wine
One tablespoon of chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until transparent. Toss the liver in the flour. Push the onion to one side of the pan and fry the liver quickly for a couple of minutes, stirring often.

When it is cooked, pour in the vinegar and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of white wine, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.