I have been a fan of Stanley Tucci since I first saw him star in the movie Big Night in 1996. If you ever get a chance, you should watch this movie. It is probably the best representation of Italian-style family love. When his series, Searching for Italy, appeared on television, I became aware of what a serious food person he is. So, when his book, Taste, My Life Through Food, was published I immediately bought it and listened to it on Audible.
His book is just the kind of recipe book I like. It is filled with wonderful stories from his life and the stories are accompanied by delicious Italian recipes.
I am going to share two recipes from the book and the fun I had making those recipes. The first recipe is for Pasta Fagioli. My story about Stanley Tucci’s Pasta Fagioli begins with an invitation to teach a cooking class at our local high school. I decided to teach the Pasta Fagioli recipe for two reasons – it is a simple, inexpensive meal and it can be prepared quickly. My thought was these young people would soon be leaving for college and if they know how to prepare Pasta Fagioli, they will never be hungry and will attract a lot of new, hungry friends. Here are some photos from the classes. You can tell they were an enthusiastic group of young people.
Pasta Fagioli (My Way)
- Extra-virin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- 1/2 bunch cavolo nero, roughly chopped
- Three 14 ounce cans cannellini beans
- 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 to 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1 pound of small pasta, like ditali or gnochetti sardi
- freshly ground black peppeParmigano-Regfiano or Pecorino, for serving
- Pour a glug of oil into a medium pot and saute the onion and garlic over medium-low heat until soft. At the same time, boil the cavolo nero in a small pot of salted water.
- Add the beans, stock, and marinara to the pan with the onions and garlic and stir together. Cook over low heat.
- When the cavelo nero is soft, strain irt, add it to the bean mixture, and stir. Continue to cook on a low simmer with the lid askew for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions. When it is done, strain it, reserving about a cup of the pasta water, and place it in a big bowl. Add about 2 cups of the bean mixture to the pasta along with some of the pasta water and a drizzle of oil and mix.
- Salt tot aste and divide among 4 bowls. Add more of the bean mixture to each bowl along with a drizzle of oil. Sprinkle with pepper and cheese of choice.
The second story and recipe I am going to share with you is for Timpano. First the story – a few weeks ago I received a phone call from my friend Nancy who was reading Taste. She was enjoying the read tremendously and said it was making her want “pasta for breakfast”. We were talking about how funny the passages in the book about Timpano are. Nancy said she had never watched the movie Big Night and I told her it was a favorite of mine. One thing led to another and Nancy decided to have a Big Night gathering. We would screen the movie and serve Timpano for dinner. We gathered our courage and proceeded to create a Timpano for dinner. But I must admit, I kept telling Nancy I had pizza coupons, you know, just in case. Well, no pizza coupons were needed and here are some photos from our “Big Night”.
Since this recipe is very detailed, I am going to give you a link to an article in The Guardian that gives you the recipe and a photo step by step of Stanley Tucci preparing the Timpano.
Stanley Tucci’s book Taste deserves a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and deserves to be your next cookbook purchase.