Marcella Hazan is revered for her role in bringing Italian family cuisine to American cooks. In Hazan Family Favorites her son Giuliano, a noted cookbook author in his own right takes the baton, sharing recipes from his childhood, updated for modern life. The book was recently released as an e-book on Open Road Media.
There are no short cuts to great food. These recipes mostly eschew canned, frozen, and prefab ingredients in favor of whole foods but they are not overly complicated. The instructions are more of a guide than an exactitude. This is Italian fare guided by experience and taste with classic recipes like a Bolognese sauce, lasagna with béchamel, artichoke frittata, and risotto with fresh tomatoes, peas, and porcini mushrooms.
The book is a mixture of recipes from his grandmother and mother as well as meals he has created for his own children. Cuisine is a living thing, a bridge between cultures and generations.
1) What flavor most says summer to you?
Tomatoes! Sweet, and finally flavorful.
2) What kitchen gadget is most indispensable to you?
I love my tongs. It’s like having an extension of my hand.
3) Your daughters figure prominently in the book and have inspired your cooking, when they were younger how did you educate their palates in unfamiliar and not necessarily kid-friendly flavors?
By serving them the same things we eat and by always eating together. Often, simply watching us enjoy what we ate inspired them to try it as well.
4) In Hazan Family Favorites you talk a lot about your grandmother’s notebooks of recipes. What is your opinion of food blogs and online recipe sites?
There is wonderful content out there. The hard part is sifting through the not so great content. Ultimately, recipe sites and blogs must earn respect just like printed magazines do.
5) You are on a desert island and can only have one starch–rice or pasta?
No need to think about this. Pasta!
6) What’s your favorite wine for drinking with summer meals?
I drink red wine almost exclusively. On a hot day I might go for a slightly chilled Bardolino, or even a nice rosé.
7) What one Italian specialty do you think every home cook should master?
Eating at home! Seriously, it’s not about mastering a specific dish, but about becoming confident enough in the kitchen to habitually be able to prepare simple, genuine, and delicious meals on a regular basis. It’s really all about practice until it becomes second nature.