The hit travel show Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy followed the Italian-American actor as he explored the peninsula in search of the country’s rich and fascinating history, all told through the medium of food.
During a period of relaxed coronavirus restrictions, actor Stanley Tucci went in search of his Italian roots, starting off in Naples and the Amalfi Coast, heading north to Rome, Bologna and Milan, and returning south to Sicily. He documented his journey, guided by locals who are all passionate about their food traditions and the cultural learning contained within.
It proves the world’s love affair with all things Italian, and particularly its food, that the programme was so popular. And the great thing about the show’s food is that it’s really quite easy to make at home - you just need to pay attention to the raw ingredients and follow all these easy step-by-step recipes from Searching for Italy.
Naples & Amalfi Coast
The fried pizza at Pizza Fritta da Fernanda in Naples is legendary. You can make it it at home with this fried pizza, tomato Bavarese, buffalo mozzarella and tomato confit recipe by chef Viviana Varese. Pizza is definitely the star of the show in the first episode, and the classic Neapolitan pizza makes an appearance at Pizzeria la Notizia. Here's how to make the perfect Neapolitan pizza at home.
On the Amalfi Coast, Tucci eats a classic spaghetti and zucchini dish, spaghetti alla nerano, at restaurant Lo Scoglio. It's incredibly easy to make and a very satisfying meal to boot. Have a look at the video below for the recipe - it's in Italian, but quite easy to follow the steps.
The famous stretch of coast is known for the lemons that grow there, which are sold on the side of the road by vendors, and are often the size of grapefruit. The lemon delight is a gorgeous fresh dessert that features in the episode, and you can make your own lemon delight cake at home in our authentic step-by-step recipe.
All roads lead to Rome, so they say, but it was certainly true for Stanley Tucci, as he headed to the country's capital to sample its incredible traditional cuisine. Rome has a very strong food identity and its traditions go back to ancient times. The huge city is surrounded by the fertile land of Lazio, which produces some of the best ingredients in the country. The cuisine of Rome is hearty and satisfying, and its four famous pasta dishes will leave you fully sated. See below for how to make the four famous pastas from Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.
How to Make The Rigatoni all'Amatriciana from Searching For Italy
Lunch calls, and Tucci finds it at Armando al Pantheon, where he orders the Roman classic rigatoni all'amatriciana, one of the city’s four famous pasta dishes. Learn how to make the dish here.
How to Make the Pasta alla Gricia from Searching for Italy
One of the famous four pastas of Rome is pasta alla gricia, the proto pasta of the amatriciana dish. Just remove the tomatoes, as they were only added to Italian cuisine after the discovery of the New World. Pasta alla gricia contains just guanciale and pecorino Romano.
Learn how to make this famous Roman dish in the video below:
How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara from Searching for Italy
Next is a favourite dish the world over - spaghetti carbonara. Tucci learns about it from chef and historian Daniele di Michele. Like the other Roman pastas, carbonara is very simple, made with just guanciale (pigs' cheeks), pecorino, black pepper and eggs. Here's how to make spaghetti carbonara.
Luciano Monosilio is famous for his carbonara. Learn from the best below.
How to Make the Cacio e Pepe from Searching for Italy
Cacio e pepe is the ultimate Roman pasta - simple, satisfying and totally delicious. Learn how to make it through the eyes of Michelin-star chef Riccardo Camanini of Lido84.
The city of Bologna in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region can call itself the food capital of Italy. Known as the 'food valley', the region has some of the richest agricultural land in the whole country and its produce (beef, dairy, grain, fruit and vegetables) gave the world its most famous pasta dish, the ragù Bolognese. Discover the recipes from Searching for Italy below:
How to Make Massimo Bottura's Tortellini in Brodo from Searching for Italy
Tucci visits Modena, and Massimo Bottura, who tells him about the city's devout worship of pasta: "If you don't believe in God, you believe in tortellini in Modena." Watch Bottura as he makes tortellini in brodo from scratch at home, with his family for company, during his lockdown series.
How to Make Ragù alla Bolognese like Emilia-Romagna Chefs
Try these two versions of ragù by chefs Aurora Mazzucchelli, Gianni D'Amato and Dario Picchiotti.
How to Make Homemade Tagliatelle from Searching for Italy
Ragù should not be served with spaghetti, locals will tell you, it should be served with tagliatelle. Learn how to make it at home with the Simili sisters:
How to Make Tagliatelle with Ragù Bolognese: The Original Recipe
Learn how to make tagliatelle with ragù bolognese with this authentic recipe from chef Alberto Bettini, owner of Amerigo1934.
How to Make The Strozzapreti Pasta from Searching for Italy
On to Rimini, where where Tucci learns how to make homemade pasta, including cappelletti and strozzapreti. Learn how to make homemade strozzapreti in our Tried and Tasted recipe.
The northern city of Milan - the cosmopolitan capital of finance and commerce, design and fashion - has its own particular food traditions. There, Tucci meets up with locals who guide him thorough the streets of a city that is a mix of the modern and the ancient.
How to Make Risotto Milanese from Searching for Italy
Risotto Milanese is the symbol of the city, and it is a dish that is both warm and hearty, as well as delicate and subtle. Learn how to make it below.
Risotto Milanese from Ratanà as seen in Searching for Italy
This risotto Milanese recipe is from chef Cesare Battisti at Ratanà, the very restaurant featured in Searching for Italy. Slightly different to the traditional recipe, it has a truly golden hue.
Parmesan Risotto Recipe
Watch how to make the perfect parmesan risotto with Michelin-starred chef Riccardo Camanini.
Watch Michelin Chefs Cook Risotto
Risotto is one of those ever-reliable dishes, that once you crack, you'll always be able to whip it up very quickly. Check out these risotto tips and tricks from Michelin-starred chefs.
How to Make Pizzoccheri from Searching for Italy
The winter warmer of pizzoccheri is a northern delight that those who live in the Alpine north depend on in the colder months.
Learn how to Make Delicious Pizzoccheri with Pasta Grannies
Learn How Make Cotoletta Milanese from Searching for Italy
Quite similar to a schnitzel found further north in Austria, the Milanese will tell you it originated in their home city - don't forget the clarified butter.
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Cotoletta Milanese
And here’s the Real Recipe for Cotoletta Milanese
How to Make Polenta from Searching for Italy
Typical of the north, polenta is easy to make, but it does take time and a little effort to get it right. Have a look at these ten different ways to serve it.
One of Italy's best-known regions, Tuscany has given the world so much in terms of art and culture, science and progress, but the same is true of its food. The local cuisine is rich in oil, with plenty of flavour, and will never leave you hungry.
How to Make the Perfect Steak Florentine from Searching for Italy
Learn all you need to know with Italy's favourite butcher, Dario Cecchini, with all his tips and tricks for cooking the best steak Florentine. Whichever way you like your steak, these tricks can ensure you get the best results every time. Here is the definitive infographic for every single beef cut, all sixty of them explained, with instructions on how to cook them.
Learn How to Make Tuscan Almond Biscuits, Cantucci, from Searching for Italy
Here is recipe for delicious cantucci, as seen in Searching for Italy. Perfect to finish a meal after dipping in Vin Santo.
Learn How to Cook Ribollita from Searching for Italy
One of Tuscany’s oldest recipes, ribollita is actually a bread and vegetable soup cooked twice. It's a simple and hearty dish traditionally made by the peasants who worked the land.
Lean How to Make Tuscan Panzanella from Searching for Italy
Here's a light and refreshing traditional salad dish that is also an excellent way to use up leftover bread.
In the final episode of Searching for Italy, Tucci stops off on the island of Sicily, the heart of the Mediterranean, whose cuisine is known as 'God's kitchen'. The rich and diverse history of this island is reflected in the cuisine, and in this series, Tucci kept the best for last.
Spaghetti alla Bottarga from Searching for Italy
Learn how to make a classic spaghetti alla bottarga, as enjoyed by Tucci on the show.
How to make Timpano from Tucci's Big Night
Tucci goes searching in Palermo for 'timballo' or timpani, the baked dish from his 1996 film, Big Night. Try this Tucci-inspired timpano recipe.
How to Make Arancini from Searching for Italy
Use up your leftover risotto by making arancini at home.
Sarde alla Beccafico from Searching for Italy
Learn how to make these stuffed sardines to transport you to Sicily, just like in Searching for Italy.
How to Make Pasta alla Norma from Searching for Italy
Sicilian chef Ciccio Sultano shows us how to make this classic pasta dish from Catania.
How to Make Sicilian Cannoli from Searching for Italy
Get the original step-by-step recipe for cannoli, probably Sicily's most famous contribution to the world when it comes to deserts.