Rolando Beramedi, author of Autentico, is also the founder of Manicaretti, a San Francisco-based company that imports high-quality Italian products. Beramedi has a true passion for excellent ingredients, and in Autentico, he conveys the idea of simplicity in cooking to highlight the best produce and products. There’s no need to overcomplicate cooking when you start with the best ingredients you can find.
“I cook food in its most authentic form,” Beramedi explains in the book. “I cook to break preconceived notions of what food should be — no overcrowded plates, no recipes with too many disparate ingredients, no need for a lot of equipment. I make no-fuss food for my guests and myself that nourishes both our hearts and our stomachs.”
Autentico is an Italian cookbook that contains more than just 120 delicious recipes — it also conveys a very Italian philosophy: “It is what it is… and that’s how it will be.” A truly authentic approach to cooking that should be part of everyday life.
Beramedi splits him time between New York, San Francisco, and his home in Florence.
Some of the recipes featured in Autentico include:
The Daily Meal: What is your philosophy of cooking (and/or eating)?
Rolando Beramedi: To eat as authentically as I can — by that I mean that the ingredients, the preparation of the dish, and the way I serve it and eat it is consistent with the traditional way I was taught the recipe by the food producers and chef-friends in Italy who have taught me everything I know.
After 30 years of working in the Italian food and wine sector, I have mastered the Italian way of cooking very well. I like to keep the dishes very simple, with seasonal high-quality ingredients and no extraneous ingredients. My approach is Less is More! I serve what many people would consider small portions, but the food is very satisfying and makes you want to eat the dish again!
How did it inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?
When I was working on the recipes to include in Autentico, I wanted to include recipes that showcased a cooking approach, rather than just focusing on the ingredients.
I believe that it's the cooking method as well as the ingredients available which help you decide what to cook. So I have included recipes which allow the reader to learn the basics of the Italian culinary approach to food — that highlight the simplicity of the recipes and the quality of the ingredients to create a simple satisfying dish.
What is your favorite recipe in the book and why?
This is a difficult question because I love them all, but if I have to choose a few, for savory, they would be the farro soup (or zuppa di farro) with colatura (anchovy essence) and oregano, the spaghetti with zucchini and pecorino romano or spaghetti alla Nicolina, and the oven-roasted pork. And lastly, my favorite sweet is the pistacchio gelato with olive oil and fleur de sel.
What are some of the foods you can’t live without?
Good extra virgin olive oil is like my blood! I generally have more than five or seven bottles — and many times nine or 10 different bottles — of extra virgin olive oil open at the same time, because depending on the dish, I chose among them for their flavor and type, such as a mild or medium or robust. It's so essential to my cooking, as the higher the quality the oil, the better tasting the food. I also love to have spaghetti once a week, and rice from Piemonte which I use in a variety of dishes.
Would you rather dine out or cook at home?
Cook at home, unless I am going to my favorite restaurants or exotic ones where I eat food I don't make at home. I rarely go to Italian restaurants in the USA.
What is your favorite go-to meal or drink?
Spaghetti alla carbonara or spaghetti cacio e pepe (both in the book), usually for Saturday lunch, with a bottle of nice Chianti classico.
How do you hope readers will use this book, what do you hope they take away?
I hope that readers will cook these dishes over and over again, so that eventually these cooking techniques will become so much a part of them that they can learn to improvise while preparing the recipes. Because there is a wide array of methods in the book, the reader will become a better Italian cook through having mastered some of the most important cooking techniques that form the basis of Italian cooking.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, that by improving the quality of the ingredients you buy, such as good extra virgin olive oil and pasta, starting to use a high-quality dry pasta, you will improve the flavors of your food, and your mood will be much happier. Making these recipes is also fun, and you can learn them super-quickly and then start to create your own interpretations of them. It's that simple!