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Sophia Loren’s Favorite Italian Dishes

July 13, 2013 Carlino's Restaurant no comments

“Sophia Loren makes no secret of her love of Italian food “

As Italy’s most renowned actress and one of the world’s most beautiful women, Sophia Loren didn’t need to do anything else to secure her fame. That didn’t stop her from honoring the cuisine of her native land with a series of cookbooks with titles like “In the Kitchen with Love” and “Eat with Me.” She makes no secret of her love of Italian food and has even generously given it credit for her astonishing beauty: “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.”

Although she was born in Rome, the actress grew up near Naples in Pozzuoli. Born in 1934, she remembers having too little to eat during and after the war. Instead of feeling deprived, though, she developed a deeper appreciation for food in all its forms. From a humble bowl of seafood soup or pasta with fresh herbs to a full Italian feast with multiple courses, she enjoys it all and isn’t shy about showing it. While other actresses and style icons post blogs about vegan sprout sandwiches, Loren talks lovingly about ripe cheeses, homemade pasta and luscious sauces.

She’s no dilettante as an author, either; she speaks freely about her life, the movie industry and the concept of beauty in her books. Nowhere is she more eloquent than when she talks about her passion for cooking, eating and enjoying meals with loved ones. She accompanies her recipes for Neapolitan pizza, Tuscan ribollita soup and Bolognese sauce with personal anecdotes that bring her favorite foods to life and invite readers to enjoy the story as well as the dish.

It’s no surprise to find glimpses of the actress’ personal life interwoven with her favorite recipes. To her, as with many Italians, food is all about context – who grew it, where it came from, who prepared it and who sat next to you when it was served. Dining isn’t just a way to refuel; it’s a social occasion, an event, a cause for celebration. Her “piccoli secreti,” Italian for “little secrets,” add figurative spice to her descriptive recipes along with the fennel and sweet basil that make them special.

As a well-traveled Italian actress, Loren has dined at some of the world’s best tables, so she doesn’t have a single favorite dish. Based on her recipes, though, she considers pasta an essential component of any meal. In an interview with Daily Mail in 2009, she talked about her love of cooking for herself and her passion for pasta. She generally chooses tomato-based southern Italian sauces over creamy ones and notes that “if you stick to a healthy sauce, pasta is fine.” When she indulges in a rich fettuccine Alfredo, she shares the dish with others so everyone gets a taste.

If she doesn’t pick favorites in her extensive culinary repertoire, she does list a few of her sons’ favorite dishes. Carlo, Jr. and Edoardo are in their 40s today, but she still cooks their favorite dishes when they visit, according to a 2010 interview with Parade magazine. She lists pasta Bolognese with its richly meaty sauce, cheesy eggplant parmigiana and peas with bacon as a few of the family’s most beloved dishes. She also feeds their friends: “I always keep something in the freezer, because they show up with four, five, six friends, and it’s much easier to make them happy by having different foods on the table.”

At 78, Loren still has that passion for life that made her one of the world’s most beloved stars on and off the movie screen. Still effortlessly elegant and phenomenally beautiful, she enjoys Italian food as much as ever. If she truly owes everything to spaghetti, then her long and joyous life is a ringing endorsement of it.

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