This site is for those who love to cook and want Italian-inspired ideas for daily meals. My inspiration is drawn from a variety of sources. I was raised by a Southern Italian mother who kept her childhood traditions alive in our home through the cooking of our daily meals. Tomatoes and vegetables were prominent ingredients in my mother’s cooking and she always had a decidedly light and delicate way of preparing her native dishes.
In the 1990’s, I worked for a year as apprentice to Mario Batali at Po restaurant in Greenwich Village (when Mario swore he’d never have another Po). Mario’s cooking was an innovative take on all manner of regional Italian cooking and was bold, fresh and exciting. Through him, I learned a variety of techniques and innovations that have remained in my cooking ever since.
In recent years, I’ve been lucky enough to have an equally compelling influence on my cooking. He is my eighty-nine year-old neighbor, Giuseppe Girardi (known as ‘Beppi’ to his friends). Beppi was the founder of “San Marco” restaurant, located in Rockefeller Center, circa 1960’s through 1990. San Marco earned three-stars from Craig Claiborne of the New York Times and was a forerunner of the more elegant, refined Italian restaurants that have come since (many of which are now owned by chefs like Mario Batali).
Beppi is a native of Verona, Italy and his restaurant was a marked departure from the inexpensive red-and-white checkered-tablecloth Italian-American cooking of the 1950’s and ‘60’s. His cooking has added another unique dimension to my own cooking. It’s old-world Northern Italian cooking that is refined, elegant, and steeped in tradition. He’s a vital and witty instructor and master in the kitchen.
My goal in posting this blog is to help provide ideas to cooks who love to prepare Italian-inspired dishes for their day-to-day meals. I won’t purport to be a ‘30-minute meal’ cook, although many of my meals might easily be prepared in thirty minutes. I won’t contend that you can make any of my meals with $25 or less, or ‘using only what’s local and seasonal (although I try to adhere to what’s local as much as humanly possible in the 21st century). In short, I won’t purport to adhere to any format other than cooking the things that I’m most inspired to cook and eat every day.
I live in Eastern Long Island, admittedly an area where there happens to be great local produce (seven months a year), dairy , eggs, and seafood, so I use these local products when they’re available simply because they taste better, not because they bear the stamp ‘organic’.
I shop for food every day because I prefer to plan my meals daily and think about them one at a time. But everything I make can be made from supermarket ingredients found virtually anywhere.
I will try to make each recipe as precise as possible, but I assume a basic understanding of cooking terminology and a feel for cooking in general. Salt and pepper are very personal , so most of the recipes will leave that commodity ‘to taste.’
Hope you appreciate the simple and straightforward approach.