The photos of myself in this post were taken by the wonderful Serena Cevenini, and the video on the book page was shot by Laura Ascari. These two incredible ladies are a super talented team who shots and films weddings – check them out!
An article by yours truly was published today on Mind Body Green, titled ‘The Secrets to how Italians are so Healthy (and Happy!)’ – hop over to read it! Thank you so much Liz Moody and all the MBG team for doing such a wonderful job!
My book is out. It is a strange sensation, indeed. The photos below portray one of the many situations that happened during the creation of this baby, shot by Serena and myself.
I thought I would have more to say, but I really don’t. It was a weird Tuesday: I had to say two major goodbyes – the kind of goodbyes that mark your calendars – that left me with mixed things and feelings, like a bike from 1940 to fix, the idea to renovate my studio entirely, some furniture to do it with, and promises that great things are to come. Which is probably true.
A friend just told me that everything that leaves, also leaves behind a seedling; and a chance to grow this seedling into something beautiful. So it is out duty to nurture this seedling with all the love and care we can give it. Nurturing these seeds is our choice and no one else’s.
This cookbook of mine was born from a very similar feeling. I will be sharing 2 – 3 recipes from it here on the blog, and I hope they’ll make you excited enough to want to buy this for Christmas for someone you’d like to spend sometime in the kitchen with.
There are several people now who tried the recipes from the book and gave them rave reviews. Amongst these, a chef friend of mine, who worked in many high-end restaurants, cooked recipes from my book a couple times. We cooked together the Vegetarian ‘Carbonara’ with zucchini and a dish of Tortelli with mushrooms and truffle (that you can find on the blog), and was enthusiastic (and he was, really. He’s not the kind of person who’d say he likes something just because you’re his friend).
So, I hope you’ll be amongst those who try the recipes as well!
If you decide to try any, PLEASE send a photo my way!! or even just a note, or a thought…or even a complaint but I’d LOVE to interact with you and know what you think!
Do it via Instagram, or Facebook…any way!
The first recipe I want to share from the book is one of the simplest I came up with, and by far one of my favorite pastas: a buttery, luscious pasta dish with tons of herbs, toasted nuts and a slight hint of lemon zest, perfect for a Sunday lunch or for a night when you feel like a comforting bowl of deliciousness.
Although butter is kind of king here, this recipe can be made vegan provided that you use some very good extra virgin olive oil instead of the butter and skip the cheese. In this case, use 3 more tablespoons olive oil instead of the butter.
One thing there is never a shortage of here in the countryside are wild herbs and aromatics, which grow both in my garden and all around the fields all year long. When the coldest months of winter strike, and the vegetable garden needs some rest, the comforting aroma exuding from their freshly snapped stalks spreads and fills the kitchen, and reminds us that nature is far from dead. I love to awake the dormant spirit of spring with dishes like this pasta – so quick to make that the longest task will be boiling the water – and take a nice smell over the pan, as if I were breathing in the scents from our rosemary and sage bushes…
- 4 tablespoons pine nuts
- 50 g (slightly less than half a stick) butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
- 1 tablespoon minced sage
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme
- 1 teaspoon mined marjoram
- Grated zest of half an organic lemon
- 320 g (11.5 oz) long fresh pasta (tagliolini, angel hair, tagliatelle)
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus coarse salt for the pasta water
- 4 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
- Dry-toast the pine nuts by tossing them in a hot pan, shaking them very often for a couple minutes. When they start to render the oil and turn slightly brown, they are ready. Set aside.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add coarse salt.
- Melt the butter with the oil in a pan over a medium-low fire, and add the herbs and lemon zest.
- Let the butter foam slightly and the herbs release their aroma, about two minutes. When the herbs have sizzled slightly, turn off the fire.
- Boil the pasta for the time indicated in the package (or until it floats to the surface if it is fresh pasta). Turn on the fire under the pan with the herbs and butter to medium, and drain the pasta into the pan, reserving the pasta water. Add about ¼ cup pasta water, and stir the pasta to form a creamy base with the fat and starchy water. Adjust salt if needed.
- Finish with freshly cracked black pepper and che cheese. Serve immediately and garnish each dish with the toasted pine nuts.
- You can add more lemon zest if you prefer a stronger lemon flavor.
PS: a huge last-minute thank you goes to Umberto, who patiently sat with me through some recipe-testing and prop-fixing: thanks, even though you’ll never read this, because you can’t. You’re the sweetest obnoxious person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know!
A huge thank you also goes to Marco, who deserves all possible praise the food world has to offer!