Welcome to London.
Beyond the stereotypes about traditional British cuisine, Tucci discovered a vibrant food scene influenced by generations of Italian immigrants. With creamy burrata and fresh homemade pasta, some of these transplant dishes rival their Italian counterparts.
“This is one of my favorite places in the world,” Tucci proudly proclaimed of his hometown.
THE CHEF WHO CATERED TUCCI’S WEDDING
“I was the one who introduced ‘nduja to London,’ Mazzei said. “And now you find it nearly everywhere, and now it is a great part of your ingredient list.”
“That’s delicious!” Tucci said as he sampled the scallops. “It’s got so much going on.”
After, Tucci tried black cod with licorice, red onion jam, cavolo nero, olive oil mash and crispy potatoes. The dish is an ode to Mazzei’s humble roots in Calabria, where licorice and fish are plentiful.
CHURCH TURNED MARKETPLACE
Tucci swung by to pick up some tagliarini, a long ribbon pasta, to cook later.
“That’s beautiful. Look at the color of that,” Tucci said of the bright yellow.
He grabbed a kilo and went back to his house to start cooking.
LEMON PASTA WITH LONDON ROCKET
To make the dish, the pair cooked up some chilis and garlic in olive oil. Then they added the cooked pasta to the pan, with some butter and lemon juice.
“Oh my, look at that!” Contaldo said. “Sorry, I just get excited every time I cook a bit of pasta.”
Finally, they topped it with London rocket, a leafy green that’s a close cousin to arugula.
This dish may not be traditional, but it showcases London’s evolving culinary scene.
“Wow. I love it with the rocket it. It’s so good. I do not even want to talk anymore … about this or anything. I just want to eat it,” Tucci said.
FOLLOW THE BREADCRUMBS
She invited Tucci to her home in London’s East End to make anolini with her extended family.
Anolini are stuffed with celery, carrots, garlic, breadcrumbs and cheese. Traditionally, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano were used as a replacement for meat in the filling because they were more affordable.
The ravioli-making process was painstakingly slow.
“Everyone wants quick recipes but the actually good recipes take time,” Hartnett said.
And just as she predicted, their hard work paid off.
“This is incredible, absolutely incredible,” Tucci said.
In Chelsea, Tucci visited a one-of-a-kind restaurant that celebrates the art of home cooking.
“The stew, lovingly simmered for six long hours, just melts in your mouth,” Tucci said.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
The restaurant’s original owner, Peppino Leoni, was among the first to glamorize Italian cooking.
Rich, creamy sauces show the cuisine’s French influence.
“France and Italy have always vied for supremacy,” Lee said.
THE MOZZARELLA CAPITAL
She found the best cheese comes from British cows.
“I love British milk,” Di Vietri said. “The flavor is slightly richer and the reason is the grass. The cows are on pasture more.”
The mozzarella made from British cows is yellower than the Italian version.
“It’s so comforting,” Tucci said while sampling the cheese. “The warmth of it and everything about it. It’s so good.”
Today, more restaurants in London are embracing local cheeses.