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Q: Each one of your recipes starts with a short story. Is that your cookbook modus operandi?
A: It’s something I’ve done from my very first book. I like to tell stories. I like to know where recipes come from, and I feel that it’s important to the reader to know why I chose the recipe, and why I wanted to share it.
Q: Most of the book’s recipes are fairly uncomplicated. Is that the way you prefer to cook?
A: I like projects. I like making pasta, or making dishes that take a number of steps, it’s a labor of love. But on weekdays, I tend to cook really simply. And working with good, fresh ingredients means you don’t have to manipulate them. Vegetables shine when the dish isn’t too contrived. Let them speak for themselves.
We were recently staying at an agriturismo [a farmhouse vacation property], and for a light lunch one day, the cook brought out a small plate of tender green beans. She picked them, she boiled them and then she drizzled them with olive oil and vinegar. I will never forget how good it was. And it was just green beans. It was all about the integrity of the ingredients.
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