Restaurants Explored by Stanley Tucci in Season Two of ‘Searching for Italy’

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A captivating journey through the diverse regions of Italy, showcasing their mouthwatering culinary specialties. In the second season of the show, Tucci takes viewers on an episode-by-episode exploration of the restaurants he visited, ranging from local favorites to Michelin-starred establishments.

The Italian Riviera, renowned for its glamour and picturesque landscapes, is prominently featured in the show. Portofino and Cinque Terre, located in Liguria, offer breathtaking views of candy-colored houses scattered amidst steep cliffs and wild countryside. Thanks to Liguria’s inventiveness, the famous pesto sauce originates from this region, which Tucci enthusiastically endorses.

Episode highlights include a visit to Portofino’s Cracco Portofino, led by Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco. Tucci indulges in the traditional Ligurian dish called pansotti pasta, filled with a delightful mixture of greens and herbs, accompanied by walnut sauce. Another notable stop is Il Genovese, known for its hand-crushed pesto made in an ancient mortar. Tucci samples a pasta dish enhanced with green beans and potatoes, creating a creamy blend.

Antico Forno della Casana, a renowned bakery, tantalizes taste buds with its famous focaccia, best enjoyed upside down to savor the flavors. The Cook, a restaurant set in a 14th-century palazzo in Genoa, impresses Tucci with its elaborate salads and dishes, such as corzetti pasta and cappon magro, an ornate seafood creation.

Ittiturismo, a unique family-run restaurant embedded in the cliffs of Cinque Terre, offers Tucci a lunch prepared with the freshest fish caught by chef Pietro Galletti’s father, Guido. The feast includes pasta with fish sauce and fried anchovies stuffed with cheese and herbs, delighting Tucci’s palate.

Moving to Puglia, Tucci explores the region’s renowned fragrant olive oil, beautiful vegetables, delicious cheeses, and flavorful durum wheat. Urban Bistrot in Bari surprises him with a pasta dish named “assassin pasta,” cooked in olive oil and spices until it becomes crispy and charred. Antichi Sapori in Montegrosso transforms simple ingredients into world-class cuisine, exemplified by their burnt grain orecchiette in fava bean cream, served with burrata cheese and charred black olives.

The journey continues to Cisternino, where Trattoria Bere Vecchie, a butcher shop, skillfully roasts meat for visitors, offering Tucci bombette (pork rolls stuffed with cheese, herbs, and red pepper) and gnumareddi (lamb wrapped in intestines). Cheese bar Caseificio Dicecca introduces Apulian blue cheese to Tucci’s palate, serving it with focaccia and burrata.

Matera unveils Ristorante Vitantonio Lombardo, a Michelin-starred restaurant situated in an abandoned cave. Chef Vitantonio Lombardo presents Tucci with a unique dish named “poverty and nobility with a red wine sauce” – combining veal filet, sweetbread covered in black breadcrumb resembling a black truffle, served with potato puree and a red-wine reduction.

Sardinia provides a fascinating glimpse into its coastal seafood dishes influenced by Mediterranean cultures as well as its interior, which clings tightly to ancient traditions. Fradis Minoris, renowned for its sustainable menu, impresses Tucci with fregola ai frutti di mare, a local delicacy made with North African-inspired couscous-like pasta.

Luigi Pomata, known as the king of tuna, prepares a traditional pasta dish called cassulli alla carlofortina, featuring local bluefin tuna with pesto. Al Forno surprises Tucci with panada, a Sardinian savory pie known for its connection to empanada from Spain.

Mabrouk, a former monastery turned into a restaurant, showcases the world-renowned local lobster in its lobster a la Catalana dish. Antonietta Salaris, the chef, adds lobster eggs to the sauce in the US to enhance its taste with a salty sweetness.

Finally, in the ancestral village of Battista, Chef Simonetta Bazzu at Arimani culinary school guides Tucci in creating pane carasau, an ancient thin and crispy bread dating back to at least 1000 BC.

Throughout Tucci’s quest to discover Italy, viewers are treated to tantalizing culinary experiences and a deep appreciation for the richness and diversity of Italian cuisine.

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