With sadness in my heart but many pleasurable memories due to the profound impression she had on my culinary life, today’s Wine Finds are in memory of the great Marcella Hazan, who passed away last week at the age of 89. As a young chef pursuing all things Italian, it was definitely an a-ha moment for me when I turned open the pages of what for many of us is the Italian Cooking Bible, her book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Working my way through the pages and the recipes one by one, I felt as if I got to know her personally and shared many meals with her at least in spirit.
Then in the mid 1990′s when I was still cooking at Assaggio, and her son, Giuliano Hazan, had taken up residence as the chef at a modern Italian place in Northwest, I had the chance to spend the day cooking with Marcella and a handful of other chefs and learn from her directly. It was an experience I will never forget and to this day the skill she taught me peeling peppers and tomatoes still gets put to the test on a weekly basis. Francofiles had their Julia Child, Italian lovers had Marcella Hazan. She brought classic, simple Italian cooking to every kitchen in America and we all should thank her for the gift she gave.
In honor of her classic, simple and always flavorful recipes, I’ve selected 4 Italian wines today that reflect the same principal. I encourage all of you who have copies of Marcella’s books at home to try a recipe or two with these bottlings. I’ve even given specific references with each wine below to tempt you.
And to Marcella – Mille Grazie per Tutti!