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Stanley Tucci Season 2022: A Calabrian Classic

Stanley Tucci Season 2022: A Calabrian Classic
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Stanley Tucci is back for Season 2 of “Searching for Italy.

Our first Stanley Tucci Recipe of the Season: Bucatini alla Calabrese

Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy” is back and it’s as irresistible as ever.  The season opener found Stanley and his parents in their native Calabria.  The toe on “the boot”, both Stanley’s maternal and paternal grandparents are from Calabria. Many Italian Americans hail from this part of Italy having left to escape grinding poverty. The Tropeanos and the Tuccis ended up in Westchester, NY. Episode 1 featured 6 recipes in all. I am keen to try the Spaghetti with Tropea Onions. But not even Eataly carries the onions essential to the dish. The Swordfish Carpaccio and Swordfish Pasta Sauce have their charms too.  I have no plans to attempt the Roasted Goat, the Lamb baked in clay or “Fire”, the dessert with egg whites and charcoal meringue. Then a second cousin made a version of today’s dish for the Family Reunion.  I went straight to La Cucina Italiana (www.lacucinaitaliana.com). I was hooked.

Bucatini alla Calabrese with stockfish and tomato sauce is a Calabrian classic. 

“For the average Italian food enthusiast”, La Cucina Italiana says “Bucatini alla Calabrese isn’t usually the first food that springs to mind when one thinks of the signatures of Calabria  – fiery ‘nduja’ “a spreadable spicy cured pork salami” which didn’t make the cut, “and the Red sweet onion of Tropea”, which did. “Yet Bucatini Alla Calabrese is a stable of the region’s cuisine, rustic fare that fuses the sea and land by coupling bucatini pasta with Calabrian-style stockfish.” Stanley’s cousin didn’t serve hers with pasta. I did with mine. And I also substituted fresh cod for stockfish.  I’ll explain why.

Stockfish drying in Norway. Drying food is one of the world’s oldest techniques for preserving food.

What is Stockfish?

Stockfish—“Stoccafisso” in Italian—isn’t Italian at all. It’s Norwegian. It’s named for wooden racks where cod was dried by cold air. Unlike its cousin, Bacala, stockfish is not salted. Stockfish has an incredibly ancient history. By far Norway’s longest export commodity, It was shipped to Britain in 875 AD.  It’s extremely popular in Italy because it allows Italians to observe the Catholic tradition of eschewing meat on Friday.  Stanley Tucci’s cousin claimed that the pure water found in Cittanova made their ‘stockfish’ so good. ‘Stoccafisso’ must be re-hydrated for up to 24 hours.  That’s why I felt confident using Fresh cod.  This dish is a perfect example of how simple many great Italian dishes are. It has all of 5 ingredients including the pasta. I used Calabrian Chili peppers to replace the red chili flakes in La Cucina’s recipe. Both add just the perfect amount of heat. Here’s the recipe and after it, links to two other Tucci favorites.

Bucatini Alla Calabrese

October 13, 2022
: 4
: 5 min
: 45 min
: 50 min
: Just 5 key ingredients come together making this a breeze to make

Rustic fare that fuses the sea and land by coupling bucatini pasta with Calabrian-style stockfish or cod.


  • 2 lb. Codfish, cut into pieces 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. Bucatini pasta
  • 28 oz. peeled tomatoes preferably Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Calabrian chiles or
  • Red chili pepper flakes to taste
  • Step 1 Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the chopped garlic and onion. Add the chopped stockfish and brown it, shaking the pan instead of turning the fish with a spatula.
  • Step 2 Place the peeled tomatoes in a bowl then crush them with a spoon. Halfway through cooking, remove the fish from the saucepan and set it aside. Add the peeled tomatoes to the saucepan. Let them cook for around 20 minutes over medium heat with the lid on. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or the Calabrian chilis. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step 3 Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Cook the bucatini until al dente.
  • Step 4 Near the end of cooking, add the cod to the sauce and let cook for around 5 more minutes. Once the bucatini pasta is al dente, drain and add it to the saucepan, sautéeing everything together for a couple of minutes. Serve steaming hot. Garnish with basil leaves and grated Pecorino.


From Stanley Tucci’s “Searching For Italy”: Spaghetti Alla Nerano

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Spread the loveStanley Tucci’s 6-part series for CNN is an Italophile’s dream. For one hour a week, its viewers are immersed in the food of a single region of Italy.  For lovers of the Italian language, there’s a surprising amount of it spoken here. Subtitles […]

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