While living and cooking in Italy, I learned the best culinary lessons at the marketplace, where I discovered the beauty of each growing season and the importance of getting to know the spirited butchers, fishmongers, and bakers, all of whom humored my rough Italian. These days, I still go to the market before I decide what to cook; that way, I can choose ingredients that look especially fresh. At this time of year, I usually head right to the stars of the vegetable world—tomatoes, zucchini, and greens—which are in season and require little embellishment.
The recipes here are inspired by my Italian experience. Some are interpretations of Italian classics, some are my own Italian-style creations, and some, like the chicken piccata, are Italian-American favorites. Buon appetito!