Food: Stanley Tucci shows way to heart is through stomach
- Credit: PA
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Hollywood star, keen cook and newlywed Stanley Tucci reveals his recipe for romance.
A shared “obsession” with food helped The Hunger Games star fall for British literary agent Felicity Blunt, who he married last year.
“The whole thing was romance with food. It still is. I love to watch her eat. It’s sexy,” says the 52-year-old.
Tucci was introduced to his new wife by her famous sister, Emily, with whom he appeared in The Devil Wears Prada. “We would go to different restaurants each night or we would cook. It was just so easy and we felt so comfortable with each other,” he says of their courtship.
Born to Italian-American parents who are both keen cooks, Italian cuisine is a big part of Tucci’s heritage. And his new book, The Tucci Cookbook, featuring family recipes passed down through generations, is testament to that.
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Try these recipes from The Tucci Cookbook to get your heart racing this Valentine’s Day:
Bruschetta with tomato
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(Bruschetta con pomodoro)
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 garlic clove, cut in half
4tbsp cold press or extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices Italian or farmhouse-style bread, toasted
Additional cold press or extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top (optional)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the tomatoes, basil, parsley, chopped garlic and olive oil together, and season with salt and pepper. Rub the toasted bread with the garlic halves, then top with equal portions of the tomato mixture. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top if wished, and serve immediately.
Rocket with prosciutto, pears, and parmesan
(Insalata di rucola, prosciutto, pera, e parmigiano)
350g rocket leaves
125ml Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
8 thin slices prosciutto
2 firm ripe pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
60g large Parmesan cheese shavings
Toss the rocket with the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Distribute evenly among four plates. Garnish each plate with two slices of the prosciutto and equal portions of pear. Use a vegetable peeler to shave portions of the Parmesan on top.
Sherry shallot vinaigrette
1 small shallot, finely diced
1tbsp Dijon mustard
4tbsp sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
4tbsp rapeseed oil
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp hot water
In a measuring jug or wide-mouthed jar, whisk the shallot, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper together. Slowly add the rapeseed oil, olive oil and the hot water, whisking to make a smooth, emulsified dressing. Set aside until needed.
Linguine with clam sauce
(Linguine con vongole)
125ml plus 1tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4tbsp dry white wine18 clams
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp chopped fresh Italian, flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 10-12 minutes or following the packet instructions until al dente.
Meanwhile, warm 125ml of the olive oil in a high-sided saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add the wine and leave it to cook away slightly for about 1 minute. Add the clams and their juice and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the broth froths to a level of 2.5-5cm. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley.
Drain the pasta and toss in a serving bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Divide between six dinner plates. Top with the sauce, and serve immediately.
Poached pears in red wine with muscat zabaglione
(Pere al vino rosso con zabaglione al moscato)
For the pears:
4 firm ripe Bosc pears, peeled, stalks intact
150g caster sugar
700ml fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais, Merlot, or Dolcetto d’Alba
5cm cinnamon stick
Lemon zest from ½ lemon
For the zabaglione :
2 egg yolks
2tbsp plus 1tsp sugar
4tbsp muscat or other sparkling wine
2tbsp Marsala wine
Trim the base of the pears so they will stand upright on a plate. Place the pears in a small saucepan; they should fit snugly. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the pears, then pour the wine over to cover (water may be added if necessary). Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Cover, and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes until the pears are still firm but tender when pierced with a skewer. Remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the wine mixture.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a plate and set aside, reserving the wine in the saucepan. Over a high heat, boil the wine for 6-8 minutes, reducing the liquid to a thick syrup measuring about 175ml. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and set the liquid aside.
In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, muscat and marsala. Whisk the mixture constantly for about 2 minutes until it thickens and becomes frothy and light. Remove from the heat immediately.
Divide the zabaglione equally between four dessert plates or shallow bowls. Brush each pear with some of the syrup and place in the centre of the zabaglione. Extra syrup may be drizzled on the rims of the plates or bowls. Serve immediately.
- The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci is published by Simon & Schuster, priced £30. Available now