Our Cook the Books Club current selection, Stanley Tucci - Taste My Life Through Food, presents us with a memoir full of opinion, memories, travel and the connections between his growing up in a close knit Italian American family, in film, writing, travel, and through it all the backdrop and importance of food in his life. This round is hosted by fellow Hawaiian blogger, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.
Tucci's mother was a wonderful cook, and he writes: "It should be obvious by now that when I was young my mother spent most of her waking time in the kitchen, and she still does to this day. Cooking for her is at once a creative outlet and a way of feeding her family well. Her cooking, like that of any great cook or chef, is proof that culinary creativity may be the most perfect art form."
What an enjoyable read! And especially for us book foodies, with so many suggestions, memorable meals, recipes encountered in his full and sometimes even tragic life. I felt as though I had met and come to know the man, with his sense of humor, conversations on whatever was happening, and sometimes rather dogmatic views, as per the one on NOT EVER cutting your spaghetti. And, not combining the wrong pasta and sauce. I'm sure I do that on a regular basis. Occasionally even cut my spaghetti. OMG!
There was absolutely so much inspiration here, every other page at least. What most appealed however, was a meal he's enjoyed a number of times at Lo Scoglio on the Amalfi coast. Spaghetti con Zucchini alla Nerano. I mean the way he raved, and the very simplicity of the dish itself. Basically zucchini, basil, olive oil, salt, spaghetti and Parmigiana-Reggiano. And, of course, the secret ingredient, a dollop of butter, ferreted out by Stanley in the restaurant's kitchen.
Spaghetti con Zucchini alla Nerano
8-10 small green zucchini
1 lb, spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese