Rosanna is coming back. This time around New York knows her a bit more. I met her, as many other did too, a few months back when, with the American dream in her eyes, she was cooking her food around New York state.
Her dishes have won the palates of young and old, of renown Italian and American
personalities alike but also of those people who, at the market, in a food store or at an event open to the public, have been lucky enough to meet her.
One thing's for sure: who has met her cannot forget her.
Rosanna contacted me via facebook before coming here. I always get tons of requests but, I must confess, hers had something more... it really stood out. I was immediately captured by the place it was coming from: Vasto, my father's hometown.
When she showed up at the office with her colorful brochure and that warmth she won us over, all of us, even before trying her food. I must confess, then, that I am biased.
Rosanna was really determined when she got here, with the idea to promote her region through her cooking. Her wish was, and still is, to pass along the great eating traditions of her Abruzzo. Of Vasto, most of all. That's why she, armed with her apron, was busy cooking all over the place. She did it with hardly replicable drive, often with a pinch of insolence, but always with great passion and simplicity.
“Who is that woman wearing glasses and an apron that's walking around?” this is what people were wondering. The best way to get to know her was by tasting her amazing dishes, prepared with the generosity of a true chef who wants people to share the flavors of her hometown.
Her cuisine is simple, prepared with carefully selected ingredients, either brought directly from Abruzzi or selected here in New York during long exploratory trips in local markets. Her recipes feature great love for each and every detail, just like, fortunately, it still happens in the kitchens of Abruzzo where cooks still use terracotta or copper pots.
Rosanna starred in demos at Whole Foods, Di Palo, the Marymount School, in the Bronx, and both public places and private houses. Rosanna went food shopping and then cooked. She found places to go to through word of mouth all through December and February. News about her suddenly showed up all over facebook and twitter. The newspapers of her region started featuring stories about her.
One day I decided to go with my staff to the Bronx with her and we shot a real fun video. Rosanna seduced the whole market with her personality, the colors, the flavors and the scents of her food, even though she does not speak English. She doesn't need to.
I was lucky enough to spy on her cooking in the kitchen of a restaurant. Her way of communicating with the kitchen staff, who often are not Italian, was extraordinary. She explained everything she does, step by step. The secrets behind the success of her recipes are indeed a careful dosing, high quality products and the need to clarify everything that needs to be done.
Rosanna left New York at the end of February but with a promise: “I will be back!”
Nobody doubted that. She is now coming back. While she was in Italy she had no time to waste, she got organized.
“I took Abruzzo by a storm,” she tells me “I went all over the place. Some people welcomed me with kindness, others had some propositions, some others still have not agreed to meet me, but I keep going.” Sadly, Italy is not living through a fruitful economic moment right now and working on new projects is not an easy feat.
But Rosanna is not giving up. She launches the cultural association “Abruzzo in tavola” with which she shares the same mission promoting the traditional cuisine of Abruzzo in the world.
She is back with “Abruzzo Week,” a real feast sponsored by local Abruzzese producers she has contacted on her own. It will be a showcase of the various products of her homeland.
“My goal is to bring together those producers who want America to get to know their products,” she confesses. This week will be particularly long, considering that there are events planned through the month of June. “It's true, it's much longer than a week. I am working hard and I have many surprises in store for you all.”
For updates – and to know where Rosanna is going to be – check on i-Italy, on i-Italy's facebook page and on Rosanna's web site, www.rosannacooking.com
There could be news and last minute changes every day.
So are you ready to get to know the cuisine of Abruzzo? To taste brodetto alla vastese (a seafood soup that was traditionally prepared on board Vasto’s fishing boats), pasta alla chitarra (homemade noodles that resemble guitar strings) , paccheri con carciofi e ricotta salata (oversized rigatoni served with artichokes and salted ricotta)? And much, much more.
26/27 - The New Community College CUNY
April 29 - DI PALO
30 Aprile - Madison Avenue
May 2 - Enoteca DI PALO'S
May 3 - Italian Cultural Center(Westchester)
May 5 - LA VIA DEL GUSTO (Connecticut)
May 10 - CITY COLLEGE NY.