Stanley Tucci’s Last Bites
I’d want to spend my last meal by Lake Como. The first time I went there was about 10 years ago, maybe more, with my late wife. It’s also where I met my now-wife, Felicity, at her sister’s wedding. The water shines, everything is so verdant, and then the Alps are in the distance... the disparity of the topography is so exciting.
We’d sit outside, overlooking the lake with a view of the Alps. The setting would be simple and rustic: a white tablecloth, wild flowers and candles. We’d be listening to classic jazz – Dixieland, some Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Earle. We’d do a little dancing. I’d be with everyone I love.
It would be early autumn, late afternoon. I like that time of year: you still have warmth during the day, but it’s cool at night. You know change is about to happen. Sometimes things are really beautiful as they start to die.
We’d have martinis to begin with, then white wine from Villa Sparina, Gavi La Scolca and Meursault; red wine – Gaja and Sassicaia.
As for the menu, to start we would have tagliarini with white truffles and risotto with shrimp. It’s a dish I had on my honeymoon. I’d had it before, but that memory makes it so special. I had the risotto in Venice a very long time ago in a little trattoria, and it is without question one of the best dishes I’ve ever had.
Travelling is important – the recipes in my books come from travels, or from memories. You’re always searching for that perfect alchemy of all the ingredients; every time you make a recipe it’s slightly different.
For the main course, I’d have a whole branzino – seabass that’s so simple to make. With it I’d have salads – cucumber and olive oil with garlic, salt and the smallest bit of dried oregano; a fresh tomato salad with oil and basil; a salad of pea shoots, fresh peas and mâche leaves. Also a Florentine steak and my mother’s broad bean minestra.
Afterwards, we’d have a board of sheep and goat’s cheese with an Amarone wine. I don’t eat cow’s milk cheese or gluten – but I would have pecorino from Pienza, and also the soft ones – a great French goat’s cheese with a little honey. I’d have to have bread – it would be my last meal so it’d be fine. And I’d round things off with a great Cuban cigar ... and Armagnac!