‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’ Season 2: What’s on the menu in London

(CNN) — Stanley Tucci’s search for Italy took him somewhere unexpected. A place that has more Italians than Bologna or Pisa, and the ancient Romans called it their last frontier.

Welcome to London.

Beyond the stereotypes of traditional British cuisine, Tucci discovered a vibrant culinary scene influenced by generations of Italian immigrants. With creamy burrata and fresh homemade pasta, some of these transplant dishes rival their Italian counterparts.

“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” Tucci proudly proclaimed of his hometown.

Below is a guide to where you can find some of the dishes Tucci has devoured on screen in London. Did you miss the episode? Catch up here on CNNgo.


Stanley Tucci visits one of his favorite restaurants in London: Sartoria. Chef Francesco Mazzei made him Scottish scallops with ‘nduja (a spicy spreadable sausage) and salsa verde. Don’t miss all-new episodes of “Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy” on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The first stop is one of Tucci’s favorite places in town: Sartoria.
Chef Francesco Mazzei moved to London in the 1990s from Calabria, one of Italy’s poorest regions. Now he oversees Sartoria’s busy kitchen staff.
The restaurant offers a number of the chef’s southern specialties, such as lasagna and lobster tagliolini. Tucci loves food so much that he asked Mazzei to plan his wedding in 2012, when he married Felicity Blunt.
For lunch, Mazzei made Scottish Tucci scallops with ‘nduja (a spicy spreadable sausage) and salsa verde.

“I was the one who introduced ‘nduja to London,” Mazzei said. “And now you find it almost everywhere, and now it’s a big part of your ingredient list.”

“This is delicious !” Tucci said, tasting the scallops. “There’s so much going on.”

Next, Tucci tried black cod with licorice, red onion jam, cavolo nero, olive oil mash and crispy potatoes. The dish is an ode to Mazzei’s humble roots in Calabria, where licorice and fish are abundant.


Mercato Mayfair is an Italian food hall inside a desecrated church. It houses restaurants and grocery stores.

Tucci picked up some tagliarini, long ribbon pasta, to cook later.

“It’s gorgeous. Look at the color of that,” Tucci said of the bright yellow.

He grabbed a kilo and went home to start cooking.


While in London, chef Gennaro Contaldo and Stanley Tucci concocted Amalfi lemon and London arugula tagliolini. Don’t miss “Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy” this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

To prepare the dish, the couple prepared chili peppers and garlic in olive oil. Then they added the cooked pasta to the pan, along with butter and lemon juice.

“Oh my god, look at that!” Contaldo said. “Sorry, I get excited every time I cook a bit of pasta.”

Finally, they topped it with London Rocket, a leafy green close cousin of arugula.

This dish may not be traditional, but it showcases the evolution of the London food scene.

“Wow. I love it with the rocket. It’s so good. I don’t even want to talk about … this or anything. I just want to eat it,” Tucci said.


Tucci has teamed up with Michelin-starred chef and third-generation Italian immigrant Angela Hartnett to make brodo anolini. It was at his table in Nona that Hartnett first learned how to make this stuffed pasta served in a rich chicken broth – a dish typically seen at Christmas.

She invited Tucci to her home in London’s East End to make anolini with her extended family.

Anolinis are stuffed with celery, carrots, garlic, breadcrumbs and cheese. Traditionally, breadcrumbs and Parmesan were used as a substitute for meat in the filling because they were more affordable.

The ravioli making process was extremely slow.

“Everyone wants quick recipes, but great recipes take time,” Hartnett said.

And just as she predicted, their hard work paid off.

“It’s amazing, absolutely amazing,” Tucci said.


La Mia Mamma restaurant brings in moms from different parts of Italy to work as their chefs. Every month there are new moms and a new menu. Tucci visited in this Sunday’s edition of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Tune in Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

In Chelsea, Tucci visited a one-of-a-kind restaurant that celebrates the art of home cooking.

La Mia Mamma is the brainchild of Sicilian restaurateur Peppe Corsaro. The restaurant brings in different mothers from different parts of Italy. Every month there is a new list of four or five mom-chefs who come up with a fresh menu.
When Tucci visited, it was under the guidance of three Italian mums from the southern region of Campania. They taught him a beloved Sunday classic: Neapolitan ragù.
The dish is a symphony of meat – ribs of beef, pieces of pork, sausages and thinly cut slices of steak. Everything is browned then poached in red wine. Finally, it’s simmered in a cascade of San Marzano tomatoes until the meat falls away from the bone.

“Ragù, lovingly simmered for six long hours, melts in your mouth,” Tucci said.


When Quo Vadis opened in 1926, French haute cuisine was all the rage in London’s high society and Italian migrants were discriminated against.

The restaurant’s first owner, Peppino Leoni, was among the first to glamorize Italian cuisine.

Today, the restaurant is run by Chef Jeremy Lee, who prepared two of Quo Vadis’ most iconic dishes for Tucci: saltimbocca and pollo principlessa.

The rich and creamy sauces show the French influence of the cuisine.

“France and Italy have always vied for supremacy,” Lee said.


The mastermind behind this awesome mozzarella lab belongs to Italian immigrant and former investment banker Simona Di Vietri. She spent a year traveling the world to find the perfect milk to make mozzarella.

She discovered that the best cheese came from British cows.

“I love British milk,” said Di Vietri. “The flavor is slightly richer and the reason for that is the grass. The cows are more grazing.”

Mozzarella made from British cows is more yellow than the Italian version.

“It’s so comforting,” Tucci said, tasting the cheese. “The heat and everything about it. It feels so good.”

Today, more and more restaurants in London are embracing local cheeses.

About Jonathan Bell

Check Also

Chili’s Trolls restaurant Nick Cannon after Abby De La Rosa confirms he’s expecting baby No 12

There are enough ribs for 12 babies. Nick Cannon has an easy choice for his …