Just as Julia Child introduced Americans to French cuisine in the 1960s, Giuliano Bugialli did so with Italian a decade later. The Florence-born author and cooking teacher wrote several cookbooks, of which The Fine Art of Italian Cooking would be most famous. Not as famous as Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, but still, it is considered standard work.
When I start this month in The New York Times came across Bugialli’s obituary, I decided to get his book off the shelf again. I once bought it on the recommendation of Johannes van Dam, but, as it sometimes happens, the love between me and Bugialli never really wanted to blossom. I don’t believe it was his fault. It was more that I had already pledged my heart to his professional, compatriot and contemporary Marcella Hazan.
Then The Fine Art of Italian Cooking for the first time, in 1977, Italian cuisine was hardly taken seriously in America. “We don’t put tomatoes and garlic in all dishes,” he explained at the time The Washington Post. In the preface to a revised and expanded 1990 edition, he concludes that things have changed considerably and that products such as olive oil, pancetta, Italian cheeses and funghi porcini are much more readily available. The funny thing is that Bugialli himself contributed substantially to this.
According to the maestro, who ran a cooking school in Florence before moving to the United States, Tuscan cuisine is the cradle of all Italian cuisine. In The Fine Art he therefore unabashedly focuses on dishes from his native region. So is this typical Tuscan pasta, which I tried last week to share with you today. It’s kind of ‘carbonara‘ but with sausage meat instead of pancetta. Intense, but very good.