Mar 2011: The reason I admire him the most of all the traveling cooking teachers is that he always teaches original recipes. What he does is learn new recipes every year in his native Tuscany, teaches them at various cooking schools around the country, and then usually publishes them in a beautiful big cookbook with magnificent pictures.
Most of the regular attendees at his classes at my School have taken one of the one week (or more) cooking courses that he offers every spring and fall in Florence. It is there that they say they have forged a special connection with him. You can find out more about these cooking vacations on www.bugialli.com. The students cook in his spacious kitchens in his beautiful villa outside Florence. It is a very special experience!
When I first started teaching cooking, there were really no good cookbooks on Italian cooking. One of the first was the FINE ART OF ITALLAN COOKING (1977) by Giuliano Bugialli, still a reliable classic. However, the most remarkable book that changed cookbooks forever was Giu1iano’s FOODS OF ITALY (1984). This was one of the first to show photos of the author with the food and the food suppliers. Giuliano has gone on to write about the food of Tuscany, Naples and Compania, Sicily and Sardinia, the food of Parma, all absolutely beautiful cookbooks with thoroughly authentic recipes. You can also see his cooking shows on PBS when your purchase the DVD. He never stops learning and teaching what he learns through cookbooks, television shows, and cooking demonstrations.
This weekend there were about thirty people who came every day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, to worship at the feet of the master. It is always a cheerful colorful group. Each day Giuliano makes four recipes – often with pasta, perhaps with rice, and once with creamy polenta; and there is always a dessert. Everyone loves to watch him make pasta – practice as we may, we can never make pasta as light and delicious as he does. And, of course we serve appropriate wines.
An absolutely fabulous dish that he made is a Potato Foccacio stuffed with Artichokes. I have to say this recipe is definitely more work than most of the recipes I publish, but I really think it is worth it. What you do is make a yeast dough with cooked potato in the dough for moisture. You also trim large artichokes so they are totally edible and cook them with garlic and broth. Half the dough is put in the bottom of a large round pan, covered with the artichoke mixture, and then covered again with the other half of the dough. After this is baked, it should be drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. It will keep for a week after it is made, but is best if served warm. Buono Appetito!