‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’ Season 2: What’s on the menu in London

(CNN) – Stanley Tucci’s search for Italy led him somewhere unexpected. A place that has more Italians than Bologna or Pisa, and the ancient Romans called it their last frontier.

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.

Below is a guide to where you can find some of the dishes Tucci devoured on-screen in London. Missed the episode? Catch up here on CNNgo.

THE CHEF WHO CATERED TUCCI’S WEDDING

Stanley Tucci visits one of his favorite restaurants in London: Sartoria. Chef Francesco Mazzei made him Scottish scallops with ‘nduja (a spicy spreadable sausage) and salsa verde. Do not miss all-new episodes of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” on Sundays at 9 pm ET / PT.
The first stop is one of Tucci’s favorite spots in town: Sartoria.
Chef Francesco Mazzei moved to London in the 1990s from Calabria, one of Italy’s poorest regions. Now, he oversees Sartoria’s busy kitchen staff.
The restaurant features a number of the chef’s southern favorites, such as lasagne pastachina and lobster tagliolini. Tucci loves the food so much that he asked Mazzei to cater his wedding in 2012, when he married Felicity Blunt.
For lunch, Mazzei made Tucci Scottish scallops with ‘nduja (a spicy spreadable sausage) and salsa verde.

“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

Mercato Mayfair is an Italian food hall inside a deconsecrated church. It features restaurants and grocery stores.

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

While in London, Chef Gennaro Contaldo and Stanley Tucci cooked up tagliolini with Amalfi lemon and London rocket. Do not miss “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” this Sunday at 9 pm ET.

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

Tucci teamed up with Michelin-starred chef and third-generation Italian immigrant Angela Hartnett to make anolini in brodo. It was at her Nona’s table that Hartnett first learned to make this stuffed pasta served in a rich chicken broth – a dish typically seen at Christmas.

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.

MAMMA MIA

The restaurant La Mia Mamma brings in moms from various regions of Italy to works as their chefs. Every month, there are new moms and a new menu. Tucci visited in this Sunday’s edition of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Tune in Sunday at 9 pm ET / PT.

In Chelsea, Tucci visited a one-of-a-kind restaurant that celebrates the art of home cooking.

La Mia Mamma is the brainchild of Sicilian restaurateur Peppe Corsaro. The restaurant brings in different mothers from various regions of Italy. Every month, there is a new slate of four or five mom-chefs serving up a fresh menu.
When Tucci visited, it was under the direction of three Italian moms from the southern region of Campania. They taught him about a beloved Sunday classic: Neapolitan ragù.
The dish is a symphony of meat – beef ribs, cuts of pork, sausages and thinly cut slices of steak. It’s all browned and then poached in red wine. Finally, it’s simmered in a cascade of San Marzano tomatoes until the meat is falling off the bone.

“The stew, lovingly simmered for six long hours, just melts in your mouth,” Tucci said.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

When Quo Vadis first opened its doors in 1926, French haute cuisine was all the rage in London’s high society, and Italian migrants faced discrimination.

The restaurant’s original owner, Peppino Leoni, was among the first to glamorize Italian cooking.

Today, the restaurant is run by Chef Jeremy Lee, who prepared for Tucci two of Quo Vadis’s most iconic dishes: saltimbocca and pollo principessa.

Rich, creamy sauces show the cuisine’s French influence.

“France and Italy have always vied for supremacy,” Lee said.

THE MOZZARELLA CAPITAL

The brains behind this mozzarella superlab belong to Italian immigrant and former investment banker Simona Di Vietri. She spent a year searching the world for the perfect milk to make mozzarella.

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.