Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, the critically-acclaimed six-part CNN Original Series that follows Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci as he travels across Italy to discover the secrets and delights of the country’s regional cuisines, continues on CNN International this weekend.
In the fifth episode, airing on Sunday 18th July, Tucci visits his former home: Tuscany. Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renaissance and world-class art, architecture and culture. It’s also produced some of the finest wines and dishes in the history of Italian cuisine.
Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renaissance and world-class art, architecture and culture. It’s also produced some of the finest wines and dishes in the history of Italian cuisine, like the magnificent T-bone steak, bistecca alla fiorentina. But Tuscany is also home to the cuisine of the poor Tuscan peasantry, known as “cucina povera”.
Stanley Tucci starts his exploration of Tuscany with his parents, Stan and Joan.
He then meets chef and restaurateur Fabio Picchi, who shows him Tuscany’s signature dish, the magnificent bistecca alla fiorentina. He meets Renaissance scholar Elisabetta Di Giugno, who takes Stanley on a wine bar crawl starting at Bar Babae, Florence’s first bar to re-open its wine window.
Out in the countryside, Stanley attends a Threshing Festival in the village of Ponte Buriano to celebrate the importance and tradition of the lowly loaf.
Back in Florence Stanley samples three dishes which use stale bread as the key ingredient: ribollita, pappa al pomodoro and panzanella.
Attending an Arts Festival, he comes across a fancy appetizer of foamed panzanella. Inspired by this recreation of a ‘poor’ Tuscan classic into an aristocratic dish, he visits Nugolo, the restaurant of Nerina Martinelli, the creator of the foam, who shows him how it’s made.
Finally, Stanley meets back with Fabio in the port city of Livorno where he makes cacciucco, a traditional fish stew made from the leftovers the fisherman hadn’t sold at market, cooked in tomatoes. It seems to Stanley that cacciucco is the perfect embodiment of Tuscan cooking – making the best of limited ingredients rooted in a poor fishing community and Livorno’s immigrant past.
CNN International is available on http://cnn.com/watchliveuk.