In a world where things are all premade, prepackaged, pre-everything, what do you think home cooks should really take the time to make? Sauces? Fresh pasta? Fresh bread? Ice cream? Where should we spend our time?
Fresh pasta made at home by hand is the thing you simply cannot replace with a store-bought product. It is ethereal and delicious and good for everyone who makes it or eats it.

For someone who wasn't lucky enough to have been born into an Italian family with a red sauce recipe that was handed down from generation to generation, do you have one that you would be willing to share?
Yes, in Molto Italiano . Get the recipe here.

What is your favorite white wine? Favorite red?
Tocai from Fiuli by Bastianich and Aragone from Tuscany by me and my partner, Joe.

When you are planning menus, do you plan by what you feel like eating that day, what is in season at the time or other?
The green market and fish market drive all of my menus, and I am lucky enough to feel like eating whatever is in season.

On Iron Chef , when a chef makes more than five dishes, how does judging work? Does a team that makes six dishes get extra points for an extra dish?
It does not add anything to the judging at all from my experience.

When you are spending time at home, do you cook for yourself? Or do you order out?
I like to cook at home, but I also really love to order Chinese food in from Grand Szechuan.

Can you share a great authentic Italian dish that not only my 5-year-old daughter would love but that screams romance so that I can prepare it when my husband and I have our date nights?
Penne ala Norma in my Molto Italiano book.

Where do you get ideas and inspirations for some of your more complex meals?
I always pay attention when I am eating at other [restaurants] and may or may not get a direct idea or the seed of another just by enjoying something someone else made.

What region of Italy, in your opinion, has the best cuisine?
All 21 have great things, but I feel the most at home and in joy when I am on the Amalfi coast or in the city of Bologna.


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