‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’: What’s on the menu

(CNN) — After watching “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” you’ll undoubtedly search for something to eat.

Every episode is stuffed with regional specialties, prepared in family kitchens and scenic restaurants alike.

Below is an episode-by-episode guide to where you can find some of the dishes Tucci eagerly samples on-screen. Missed an episode? Catch up here on CNNgo.


Stanley Tucci speaks with professor Elisabetta Moro about the history of pizza in Naples.

Stanley Tucci speaks with professor Elisabetta Moro about the history of pizza in Naples.


In the premiere episode, Tucci travels to Campania, a region whose volcanic landscape contributes to its stunning local produce. From buffalo mozzarella to lemons on the Amalfi Coast, local cooks make the most of the bounty.

Stanley Tucci visits one of Italy’s greatest cheese makers to see him work his magic with mozzarella.

  • Pizza Fritte de Fernanda: Professor Elisabetta Moro introduced Tucci to this fried pizza purveyor, where they snacked on hot bundles filled with pork and ricotta.

  • Pizzeria la Notizia: Enzo Coccia, who made Tucci a classic pizza in the episode, actually wrote the globally recognized standards on making the best Neapolitan pizza. You’ll find his Michelin-recognized work here.

  • Chiku: While in Scampia, Tucci visited this eatery “in which Neapolitan and Balkan cuisine find a fusion and a common dimension,” as Chiku describes.

  • Il Focolare: Tucked away on the island of Ischia, a ferry’s ride from Naples, this restaurant draws crowds thanks to its coniglio all’ischitana, made with local wild rabbit.

In Minori, a town along Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Stanley Tucci samples lemons he calls the best in the world.


Stanley Tucci and Daniele "Don Pasta" De Michele tracked down a blissful rendition of one of Rome's famous four pastas.

Stanley Tucci and Daniele “Don Pasta” De Michele tracked down a blissful rendition of one of Rome’s famous four pastas.


Our second stop on “Searching for Italy” is the capital city Rome, an ancient metropolis whose culinary delights are sometimes overshadowed by more gastronomically famous neighbors.

But from sweet maritozzi to the perfect forkful of carbonara, Rome is where you can find great food from sunup to sundown — if, as Tucci says in the episode, you know where to look.

Carbonara may be the most beloved of Rome’s famous four pastas.

Bar San Calisto: Tucci and friend Claudia della Frattina stopped by this cafe for espresso. But when the maritozzi — brioche-like buns filled with cream — appeared, so did the spoons to dig in.
Armando al Pantheon: Next, Tucci and della Frattina made their way to Armando al Pantheon for a classic Roman lunch. They chose rigatoni all’amatriciana, one of Rome’s famous four pastas.
Pommidoro: Tucci’s pasta tour didn’t end there. Accompanied by chef, historian and DJ Daniele di Michele, Tucci ventured to this restaurant in search of soul-satisfying carbonara, made with guanciale, pecorino, black pepper and eggs.
SantoPalato: Along with food critic Katie Parla, Tucci looked inward for this meal — specifically, the innards of chicken and beef. At this offal restaurant, run by chef Sarah Cicolini, Tucci and Parla enjoyed a frittata with mashed chicken offal; Roman tripe cooked in tomatoes; wagyu heart tartare; and oxtail meatball with peanut, wild celery and cocoa powder sauce.
Bistrot64: The beauty of cacio e pepe is in its simplicity; with so few ingredients, the work of a master can be tasted from the first bite. As Tucci learned in his final stop this episode, Japanese chef Kotaro Noda of Bistrot64 has gotten the balance of pasta, cheese and pepper just right.

In Rome, Stanley Tucci watches as rigatoni all’amatriciana is made with the key ingredient of guanciale, the fatty cheek of a pig.


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Stanley Tucci learns how to make Bolognese ragu from cook Barbara Asioli.

The third episode of “Searching for Italy” is all about the riches of the Emilia-Romagna region, which is home to 44 protected food products — more than any other region in the country. While Bologna is known as the food capital of Italy, Tucci discovered culinary wonders throughout the area.

Stanley Tucci learns how to make the first recorded recipe of Bolognese ragu, which calls for onion, carrot, veal and bacon — but no tomato sauce and butter instead of oil.

Caseificio Rosola: Celebrated chef Massimo Bottura led Tucci to this creamery in Zocca, a town about 30 miles outside of Bologna. Bottura swears by Rosola’s parmigiano, which is made from the milk of local Bianca Modenese cows.
Casa Maria Luigia: Bottura and Tucci brought some of Rosola’s ricotta back to Bottura’s hotel-restaurant, where they enjoyed the cheese with local honey, elderflower vinegar and a bit of traditional balsamic vinegar. (It was so delicious, Tucci nearly forgot he was making a TV show!)
Salumeria Simoni: In Bologna, Tucci lunched and learned with Mattia Santori, one of the leaders of Italy’s Sardines political movement. They stopped to buy mortadella, the silky pork sausage made with pistachios and peppercorns and dotted with sweet fat.
Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Giuseppe Giusti: Tucci tasted a spoonful of history in the form of traditional balsamic vinegar. The Giusti family has crafted its signature vinegar from grapes near Modena for more than 400 years.
Casa Artusi: Pellegrino Artusi is known as Italy’s culinary godfather, and Tucci turned to Artusi disciple Barbara Asioli to learn how to make his version of Bolognese ragu. Asioli assists in the cookery classes at this museum dedicated to Artusi.
Osteria Io e Simone: Tucci ended his adventure in the coastal town of Rimini, the birthplace of famed director Federico Fellini. Accompanied by Fellini’s niece Francesca, Tucci feasted on freshly made bowls of cappelletti and strozzapreti.

Stanley Tucci tries cappelletti, pasta parcels shaped like a priest’s hat that are traditionally eaten in broth on Christmas Day.


Mixologist Morris Maramaldi shows Stanley Tucci the secret to his martini with a Milanese twist.

Mixologist Morris Maramaldi shows Stanley Tucci the secret to his martini with a Milanese twist.


Milan is known for its hard-working culture, but thankfully it’s a city where you can play as hard as you work. While visiting the Lombardy capital in the fourth episode, Tucci soaked in stunning architecture and nightlife as he enjoyed some of the region’s hallmark dishes, including risotto and polenta.

Ratana’: Chef Cesare Battisti is known for creating innovative dishes as well as being a master of the classics. With Tucci, he served up Italian food history alongside veal cutlets and risotto, the luxuriously creamy rice dish made with saffron.
Mag Cafe: Rain or shine, an aperitivo in Milan is a must. With social media star Tess Masazza as his guide, Tucci raised a glass to the Milanese mainstay of the post-work drink.
Tencitt: Under the expert guidance of Morris Maramaldi, one of Milan’s most in-demand mixologists, Tucci was introduced to a Milanese spin on the martini, with saffron for a twist.
The Bitto Center: In the Orobic Alps, Tucci met cheese maker Paolo Ciapparelli, who’s devoted his life to preserving the process behind Bitto Storico Ribelle. The 2,000-year-old type of cheese is made from the milk of alpine herds, and Tucci found it so inspiring his next stop was to head into the kitchen to make pizzoccheri, a noodle made from buckwheat.
Osteria del Treno: After a visit to Lake Como, Tucci and wife Felicity Blunt ventured back to Milan to take in a meal at this restaurant, which Tucci describes as embodying “the history and spirit of Milan like almost nowhere else.”

Stanley Tucci learns the tale behind this classic Milan rice dish.


Stanley Tucci takes in the view in Tuscany.

Stanley Tucci takes in the view in Tuscany.


The fifth episode of “Searching for Italy” was a homecoming for Stanley Tucci, who spent a year in Florence with his family as a child. That year abroad, as he’s told us, changed everything for him — and nearly 50 years later, he keeps coming back for more.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio: Chef and restaurateur Fabio Picchi brought Tucci to “the liveliest market in Florence” to gather ingredients for bistecca alla Fiorentina.
C. Bio: Back at Picchi’s deli, the chef used olive branches and plenty of salt to create Tuscany’s signature dish.
Babae: Accompanied by professor and guide Elisabetta Digiugno, Tucci embarked on a (brief) old-school bar crawl, starting with this bistro that offers wine through its Renaissance-era “wine window.” The tiny openings, called “buchette del vino,” “don’t exist anywhere outside of Tuscany — another example of Renaissance genius,” Tucci explained.
Osteria Belle Donne: To cap off their wine window tour, Tucci and Digiugno enjoyed the local dessert wine, Vin Santo, with almond biscotti.
Mercato Centrale: Historian Leonardo Romanelli brought Tucci to Florence’s central market to show him the ingredients of what Italians call “cucina povera,” or poor food, starting with the economical staple beans.
Osteria Cinghiale Bianco: One of Tucci’s favorite restaurants in Florence, this place specializes in dishes like ribollita, pappa al pomodoro and panzanella. “Their recipes are so heavenly,” Tucci says, “I’m sure it’s where old bread would choose to come and die.”
Nugolo: After tasting a sophisticated foam version of panzanella, Tucci was introduced to this restaurant reimagining Tuscany’s rural food in the heart of the city.
Torteria da Gagarin: In Livorno, Tucci joined Picchi at this local institution that serves up a renowned pancake made from chickpea flour.

Chef Fabio Picchi fills Stanley Tucci in on his family secret for delicious bistecca alla fiorentina.


Stanley Tucci speaks with winemaker Arianna Occhipinti at her vineyard in Vittoria, Sicily.

Stanley Tucci speaks with winemaker Arianna Occhipinti at her vineyard in Vittoria, Sicily.

Christian Dametto

The first season of “Searching for Italy” came to a close with a trip to Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. This region is also known as “God’s Kitchen” because of its fertile soil, and the produce that grows here has inspired a cuisine that lets simple ingredients shine.

Case in point: The sardines in salsa verde and sarde a beccafico Stanley Tucci enjoyed with a local family in Lampedusa, and the varieties of timballo he sampled in Palermo with Princess Stefania di Raffadali.

In Sicily, Stanley Tucci was on the hunt for the perfect timballo — a baked dish that’s also the centerpiece of his 1996 classic, “Big Night.”

As Stanley Tucci says, when eating in Sicily “don’t mistake uncomplicated for bland.”

I Pupi: Chef Tony Lo Coco welcomed Tucci into his Michelin star restaurant for his take on the Sicilian classic spaghetti alla bottarga. “The core, the soul of your restaurant,” Tucci said to the chef, “is taking the really simple food of Sicily, and elevating it.”
Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti: Sicily is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, but its wines are often thought to be too bold to enjoy on their own. Winemaker Arianna Occhipinti is changing the game by producing a more delicate vintage at her vineyard in Vittoria.
Me Cumpari Turiddu: In the port city of Catania, Tucci dined on donkey carpaccio — “like beef carpaccio, but even sweeter” he says — and pasta alla norma at Roberta Capizzi’s restaurant. “The food is great,” Tucci says, “but the magic ingredient that makes this restaurant so special is the wonderful Sicilian hospitality.”

Pasta alla norma is a Sicilian favorite made with eggplant, and this version includes homemade, fresh-cut macaroni.

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