Cooking with Nonna Comes to a Bookstore Near You
Some of the best recipes are those that come from our grandmothers. However, many people don’t have their nonna’s recipes, which were largely prepared without written instructions. Fortunately, Rossella Rago–a first generation Italian American from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn–recorded family recipes that were passed down through the generations. The recipes can be found in her new cookbook Cooking with Nonna.
Who is Rossella?
Rossella is the host of Cooking with Nonna, an online cooking show and food webisode series. She recently won the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle–Battle Italiano. Rossella’s Italian roots come from a small fishing village in the region of Apulia called Mola di Bari, commonly referred to simply as Mola.
Rossella practically grew up in the kitchen. As a young girl, she would watch her mom, nonna, and great aunts cooking up a storm. Although they didn’t allow her to touch anything, she was the designated “taster.” She also begged her family to let her go to the Brooklyn markets to pick up the ingredients. This is how she realized how important it is to choose the right produce, spices, and meats.
The Makings of a Show
Spending her summers in Mola and participating in the city’s annual Octopus Festival, Sagra del Polpo, further inspired Rossella. She states, “Being born Italian, it’s hard to escape the cooking gene, even if you don’t know the classic techniques; you are empowered with certain tools and recipes as a child.”
Interestingly, since she was ten years old, Rossella has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. She has appeared in notable films such as Confessions of a Shopaholic and 13 Going On 30. Therefore, it seemed only natural for her to pursue a career that combined her passion for cooking and her love for entertaining. And so Cooking with Nonna was born.
Cooking with Nonna: The Show and The Book
On her show, Rossella cooks alongside her Nonna Romana who is perhaps her greatest inspiration. Rosella also invites other nonne to come on her show as guests in order for them to offer their recipes and memories of Italy. The show is the perfect forum for these nonne to share not only their food but also their insights into the Italian culture. Since its launch, Cooking with Nonna has become very popular. On her YouTube channel, you’ll notice Rossella has over 17,000 subscribers, and each of her recipe videos has thousands of views. If you’re interested in catching the latest and greatest of her videos, they’re posted on Friday nights with shorter ones published during the week.
If you would prefer to have some of those delicious recipes in cookbook form, fear not. Rossella’s cookbook–Cooking with Nonna–was released on March 15. Although it has only been out for a couple of days, the book has been receiving rave reviews, and it’s already #1 on Amazon’s Italian Cooking Bestseller’s List. The book, like the show, is about more than just food though. It’s about sharing memories of Italy and its regions. If you’re a real Rossella fan, be sure to visit her site and order an autographed copy of the book with a personalized dedication.
Check out Rossella's official website, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+ to see what she's whipping up in the kitchen.
For more information on the book, click here.