By Janelle Davis, CNN. Photographs by Will Lanzoni and Heather Fulbright, CNN
“There is some truth to the old adage ‘Most people in the world eat to live, but Italians live to eat’. Stanley Tucci said.
He grew up in an Italian-American family and lived in Italy as a child – and, true to form, his love of cooking and food runs deep.
Tucci has written several cookbooks featuring her recipes, as well as some of her family and friends.
So as we eagerly await the second season of “Stanley Tucci: In Search of ItalyMouth-watering, here are three Tucci recipes to help you out. New episodes begin airing March 13.
It should start with an aperitif. Tucci said his mother taught him to always prepare small plates — like olives, cheese and salami — and to serve wine or espresso when guests arrive.
One of the appetizers featured in “The Tucci cookbook” is a Venetian pâté of salted cod, known in Italian as mantecato tray. It is a traditional dish in Venice.
The salt cod is soaked in cold water for 24 hours then cooked in milk with garlic and potatoes. It is drained and then put in a food processor with oil until it forms a smooth paste. Then parsley, parmesan and freshly ground pepper are added. Some variations include incorporating bell peppers, Kalamata olives, or cubed potatoes.
The dish is best served hot on toast with olive oil or a slice of grilled polenta.
“Don’t be put off by the aroma of cod, because once the baccalà is soaked in liquid for an entire day, the smell disappears and its sweet taste is revived,” writes Tucci in his cookbook.
And of course, Tucci wouldn’t want you to forget the wine! He recommends a sparkling, all-white or light-red couple.
A hearty fisherman’s stew
This fish stew in the style of the Marche region, which in Italian translates to brodetto di pesce alla marchigiana, is a savory tomato-based soup from eastern Italy. There are many variations of the dish. It was originally made by fishermen who cooked leftovers they caught or imperfect fish they could not sell.
One of the most famous versions is brodetto all’Anconetana — from the name of Ancona, the capital of the Marche region. It contains 13 different types of fish and seafood, depending on Great Italian Chefs.
Don’t panic about finding all those ingredients – Tucci’s version only calls for two types of fish, plus calamari and shrimp. You can use redfish, halibut or striped bass; for other fish, the recipe calls for scrod, snapper or cod.
“I like to use an assortment of fish and seafood in this stew, but it can also be made with just one type of fish,” Tucci said. “Select whatever you want, although I wouldn’t recommend oily fish, like salmon, tuna, or bluefish.”
To make the stew, start by making the tomato base of onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Then add the fish one by one. Tucci suggests not stirring the mixture so that the fish does not fall apart; instead, the trick is to shake the pan back and forth to coat the seafood with the sauce.
It can be served as a main course over rice, pasta or toast. You can also cut the amount of fish in half and serve it as a hearty appetizer in a shallow bowl.
And we can’t forget the wine. This stew pairs well with a light or medium-bodied white wine.
The Ultimate Sweet Course
Nothing says a classic Italian dessert like tiramisu. Its name means “pick me up,” which perfectly sums up this sweet, caffeinated cake found on Italian menus around the world.
Tiramisu is traditionally made with layers of ladyfingers dipped in coffee and topped with whipped mascarpone with eggs and sugar. Some modern versions use a sponge cake, and others add coffee liqueur for an extra kick.
Stanley Tucci’s recipe comes from chef’s sister and co-author of “The Tucci Cookbook” Gianni Scappin. “I prefer my sister Livia’s tiramisu to any other I’ve tried,” Scappin said. “Livia took the elements she liked the most in each recipe (not too sweet, not too heavy, etc.) and incorporated them into her own recipe.”
This version of tiramisu uses a mixture of eggs and well-beaten sugar to minimize the “egg flavor”. The recipe also includes crushed amaretti cookies and a single layer of ladyfingers. Enjoy your lunch !
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