The driving force behind everything author Andrew Cotto writes is food, and almost exclusively Italian food. This week Andrew and I chat about his latest book, Cucina Romana, plus lots of other things Andrew has written.
Andrew Cotto’s Cucina series
Cucina Tipica is the first book in the Cucina series about Jacoby Pines who travels to Tuscany from New York for what was supposed to be a short stay but instead Jacoby’s life flip-flops and his trip to Italy turns into a permanent stay. The location is inspired by the small village where Andrew lived for a year with his wife and then toddler daughter: Antella, a frazione (suburb) of the Comune of Bagno a Ripoli, in the hills south of Florence. Here’s the restored barn where they lived.
The second book in the series, Cucina Romana, is about Jacoby Pine‘s trips to Rome and his exploration of the Eternal City and Roman cuisine. No spoiler alerts on either book but suffice it to say that the reader is left wondering how Jacoby’s life will next unfold.
During my chat with Andrew he revealed that the third book in the Cucina series will take place on the exquisite Amalfi coast.
The release date for Cucina Romana is March 25, 2021 and it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon.
Andrew with renowned Tuscan butcher, Dario Cecchini:
About Andrew Cotto
Andrew lives in Brooklyn New York with his wife and two teenage children. He’s a prolific writer and in addition to these two books he’s written five others.
Andrew is of Italian descent on both sides: his mother‘s family is from Sicily and his father‘s family is from Piedmont. Andrew’s travels to Italy weren’t directed at making connections with his Italian family but rather to pursue his generic and inherent sense of Italian heritage.
One of Andrew’s books was published in Italian and through Facebook the Piedmont side of his family reached out to him. It turns out that just like Andrew’s grandfather this family is from Asti and produces Barbera d’Asti wine so needless to say Andrew is anxious to meet the family in person!
Andrew writes for the New York Times, La Cucina Italiana and a number of other publications.
Andrew in the New York Times
These are a few of my favorite New York Times articles:
Andrew’s most recent article from Sunday, March 14, 2021 Pizza from the Heart, is about a Caribbean heritage woman pizza maker in Queens, New York. Andrew traces the path that led her to pizza-making and talks about a few of her more notable and delectable pizzas.
If you’d like to make homemade pizza yourself here’s a great recipe! And when you’re next in Rome come along for the Flavor of Italy Pizza Making Class with our wood-burning pizza oven.
Back in November Andrew wrote an article about New York-based Italian Eataly executive, Dino Borri, and his French of Beninese heritage wife and American born daughter: It’s Family Time in Three Languages.
Andrew in La Cucina Italiana
La Cucina Italiana is one of the top culinary magazines in Italy and Andrew writes for the magazine’s English language digital version.
These are a few of my favorite articles:
On March 12 Andrew wrote an article about the Settepani (seven breads) family and their Brooklyn bakery. This Italian heritage family decided that panettone should be available year-round and that’s just what they do. They bake all kinds of variations on the Milanese classic panettone: a rainbow panettone, a red velvet panettone for Valentine’s Day and one that I would love to try: Nutellatone, a panettone made with Nutella.
You can make panettone at home using this simple step-by-step recipe.
Back in October Andrew wrote an article Italian Food as Muse: A Writer’s Inspiration that talks about food and how it functions as a character within his books.
And then in September he wrote an article about guanciale, pork jowl, that’s one of my favorites: All you Need to Know about Guanciale: The Expert’s Tips. It’s all about a sixth generation Tuscan salami maker located in the Virginia Hills between Richmond and Roanoke. If you can’t find guanciale in the USA look no further because you can order it online from Terra di Siena.
Guanciale is a key ingredient in Italian cuisine, and especially Roman cuisine. In the above photo you see guanciale on the left and pancetta on the right. Try these recipes that use guanciale as a hero ingredient: Spaghetti Carbonara and Penne or Rigatoni Amatriciana, Roman-style.
Guanciale and pecorino romano are two key ingredients in both of these dishes and they give them their rich umami flavor.
If you’d like a Culinary Walking Tour of Rome next time you visit I’ve got you covered!
Other articles by Andrew Cotto
Andrew writes for numerous publications and the ones I’ve mentioned just scrape the surface. If you’d like to check out more articles by Andrew head to his Pinterest profile which details all of his articles and publications.
Easter is upon us and here’s an Easter lamb recipe Andrew wrote for the Men’s Journal.
What’s next for Andrew Cotto
Right now Andrew is working on a book about a dear friend who passed away, affectionately known as Pasta Mike. Andrew’s friendship with Mike is intertwined with food and that will be part of this story about this friendship between two men.
This book is almost ready for publication and right after that Andrew will be working on the third book in the Cucina series, based on the Amalfi coast.
You’ll also continue to find Andrew regularly in the New York Times, La Cucina Italiana and elsewhere. Here’s Andrew enjoying Rome:
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