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Articles / Food with Mark Bittman: Francesco Turrisi

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Food with Mark Bittman: Francesco Turrisi

Published June 20, 2024

Pasta rules!

Photo courtesy Francesco Turrisi

When we first started this podcast, in 2021, one of Mark’s “dream guests” was Rhiannon Giddens, a talented musician—who actually just appeared on the latest Beyoncé album—who is loved for her soothing and powerful voice. And we made it happen—we had Rhiannon on with her frequent collaborator, the multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Both of them love to cook, and Mark talked to them about being “the other,” and the similarities between music and cooking—plus biscuits vs scones.

Recently, Francesco has really leaned into his cooking skills—especially when it comes to deep research of the food and traditions of his native Italy. He started a Substack called Cooking by Ear, and there’s some really interesting—and funny, tongue in cheek—stuff on there, which prompted us to be back in touch, and we decided it’d be fun to have him back on.

In addition to being a prolific cook, Francesco currently performs on piano, accordion, harpsichord, organ, various lutes, cello banjo, frame and goblet drums; he was called “a musical alchemist” by the Irish Times. Start by listening to his work on the piano—that’s my personal favorite. Today, though, our conversation is alllll about cooking; and if you love Italian food—who doesn’t?—you’ll especially enjoy it. We also published Francesco’s piece, “Pasta Rules!“, which is basically all the ways in which he will never cook pasta, here—so be sure to check that out.    

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