Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
The simplest answer is everything about my maternal grandparents' house. My mother's family immigrated here from Italy when she was young, but they brought their way of life with them. My nonno's garden took up most of the backyard, and by late summer, there were crates of tomatoes spanning the whole length of the house. In the basement, my nonna had a huge workbench where she made fresh pasta once or twice a week while I stood beside her on a stool and played with scraps. There was always something on the stove or in the oven. Now my parents' house smells like theirs used to, and I love it.
Also, my husband and I spent three years living in the Middle East and exploring the surrounding continents. The things we saw and ate during those years had a lot to do with my decision to go to culinary school.
What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Unloading the dishwasher! Just when you think all the cleanup is done, you have to get off the couch again!
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Your favorite kitchen tool?
In terms of utility, the Vitamix. I use it for everything—soups, herb oils, hummus, smoothies, baby food. Everything comes out so velvety. In terms of sentimental value, the knives my husband bought me in Japan before I started culinary school.
What is a recipe that's on your list of things to try this year?
I would like to get back to hand rolling pasta! I finally have the counter space to do it.
What's the recipe you're most proud of?
Lasagne Verdi in the Romagnolo style, with ragu, bechamel, and most importantly, fresh green pasta. It is SO MUCH WORK, but one bite and you're spoiled for life.