Aug 092013
Julia on NPR Radio and Zester Daily: Global Warming Leads to Pine Nut Plagues

If making basil pesto is a rite of summer for you, you’ll want to check out my most recent stories on Zester Daily and NPR radio about the disappearing pine nut and substituting pistachios for pesto instead. As our planet warms, we’re losing our pine forests. Everyone I spoke to, from the American pine nut gatherers in the southwest dustbowl, to the pesto makers in Genoa who have relied on the Mediterranean fir forests for centuries, said the same thing: the nut-bearing conifers are an endangered species. It was a tough story to digest, but digest it I did. Because I write about food […more…]

Aug 012013
Reader Mail: Why Does Everything Taste Better in Rome?

  Every cookbook writer loves to hear from their readers and find out how they’re getting along with the recipes that are lovingly tested to make them foolproof before they’re published (but, hey! don’t expect the results promised if you go off and “do your own thing”). Here’s a message I got recently (what a treat—they even sent a photo!): Before my wife had given me your Classic Italian Cookbook, I had only nostalgia for the dishes I had tasted during my stay in Rome. Now I am able to re-create those same dishes in my own home, and I […more…]

Jul 022013
Secrets of Italian Tomato Sauce

If you’re like me and love a good tomato sauce, you’ll want to read my new article in Zester Daily, “How to Master the Tomato Sauces of Italy” for tomato sauce wisdom and maybe, just maybe, my favorite “red sauce” recipe.   I wrote it because—I kid you not–even after having written thirteen cookbooks about Italian food—four of them about pasta and the sauces it wears–and one about how to make tomato sauce specifically*, people still ask me what prepared tomato sauce I buy! My answer, “I wouldn’t dream of eating tomato sauce from a bottle!” The response, inevitably: “You make tomato sauce from […more…]

Jun 142013
A Sweet Remembrance: Love Knots for Papà

Actually, I never called my father “Papà.” I know he would have preferred it, but at some point after “Giulia” was changed to “Julia,” unofficially but permanently at the insistence of an elementary school teacher, he became “Daddy.” His name had also been anglicized, much earlier, at Ellis Island, from Giovanni della Croce to John Dellacroce. Still, he was more Giovanni than John when it came to most things. Born in Toritto, Provincia di Bari, Regione di Puglia, Italy, on April 13, 1908, he died a couple of months shy of 100, on my birthday. My father had an extraordinary […more…]

May 032013
A Lentil Soup for Christopher Peacock's Kitchen

My formative years were spent not only cooking alongside my Italian mother and aunts, immersed in beautiful food, but also, studying art. I love design especially–interior, graphic and fashion design, architecture… all of it.  And so I feel excited to be teaming up with celebrated designer, Christopher Peacock, to kick off this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, a quintessentially New York spectacle. Every year, the most acclaimed interior designers transform a grand Manhattan home into an exhibition of state-of-the- art interiors for the show. The idea was hatched in 1973 when several dedicated advocates of the Kips Bay Boys […more…]

Apr 082013
Pistachio Pesto: A Sauce Fit for a Prince

Last year nearly to the day, I wrote a post about A Day Cooking with the Duchess at the ancestral Lampedusa palace in Palermo, where I spent a weekend that was spectacular indeed. With so many photos to post there was no room for a recipe. Here, you’ll find a version of the Duchess’s pistachio pesto that I adapted for American kitchens. (And by the way, if you live anywhere near Westchester County, New York, the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville will be showing Luchino Visconti’s film adaptation of Il Gattopardo, The Leopard, in this year’s Italian Film Festival on May 19, […more…]

Mar 312013
A Whiff of Spring, a Waft of Rome

At long last, a streak of warm sunlight beams through my kitchen window. The day brings to mind Easters in Rome and the city’s abbacchio, butter-tender baby lamb, and the first artichokes of spring. No one, but no one, makes lamb and artichokes taste better than the Romans, though my mother would disagree. Being from Sardinia (Sardegna) where some of the best artichokes in the world grow under that island’s blazing sun, the thistles are a religion in her house. In a region where there are nearly twice as many sheep as people (some 3,000,000 of them to about 1,675,000 Sards), you know […more…]

Mar 212013
Hey Mark! Whoa Mario! About Those Potato Gnocchi...

If you had a look at Mark Bittman’s recent New York Times column about potato gnocchi, this post is for you. Mark and I are old friends from his Cook’s magazine days when we worked on some stories together. Since then, you and I have seen him on a dazzling journey in the world of food. He’s no slouch when it comes to cooking Italian. But about gnocchi specifically, and his recent article with Mario Batali… some input and insights—I’ve been on my own journey with the little dumpling. Continue reading and you’ll find how my own potato gnocchi (gnocchi di […more…]

Sep 102012
Unraveling the Mystery of a Grandmother's Lost Recipe

Recently, Oldways Preservation Trust asked me to solve a culinary mystery for the new “Lost Recipes Project” on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Oldways Preservation Trust is a food think tank with a mission to preserve culinary traditions and artisanal foods. My task for NPR was to trace the roots of a listener’s elusive family recipe for an unusual type of ravioli. The detective work will draw you into the story of one Italian family, their traditions and food. Listen to the story of how I tracked down the long-lost recipe on the audio segment of “The Salt,” NPR’s food blog […more…]

May 072012
Cooking with Julia:  MAY is for Artichokes

“Cooking with Julia”  ||  MAY 2012 This new feature on my blog called “Cooking with Julia” offers a recipe every month for ingredients in season. I’d might as well begin with artichokes, now in their prime, because I love them, probably more than any other vegetable I can think of. Perish the thought of pickled artichokes, frozen artichoke hearts, or the canned variety. You’ll ruin your recipe if you substitute them when the ingredient list calls for fresh. While artichokes can be tedious to clean–what’s required is snapping off the hard part of the leaves and whittling away the tough […more…]