Joe Sponzo

Torta Della Nonna
Rating: Unrated
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"Grandmother's cake" is a traditional Tuscan dessert, though everyone's nonna makes it slightly differently. In his version, Joe Sponzo combines a delicate pastry crust with a silky pastry cream, which he flavors with vanilla and lemon zest (other Tuscan cooks add ricotta cheese). He tops the tart with pine nuts, another regional staple. More Italian Desserts
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When he first started cooking for Trudie Styler and Sting, Joe Sponzo would focus on creating elaborate meals, he says. He quickly learned that, when dining at home, Sting and Trudie preferred simple dishes made with seasonal ingredients, such as this vibrant salad made with roasted vegetables and a citrusy vinaigrette. Although beets and blood oranges are more popular in Southern Italy, Sponzo says this salad is his simple variation of a Tuscan root-vegetable salad. Plus:  More Italian Recipes 
Pappa al Pomodoro
Rating: Unrated
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Sting and Trudie Styler's private chef, Joe Sponzo, grows tomatoes at Il Palagio for his take on the classic Tuscan pappa al pomodoro, a hearty tomato-bread soup. When they're ripe, Sponzo passes them through a food mill to make passato, a concentrated tomato puree he jars for year-round use. He buys his bread in Figline Valdarno, from a bakery that uses a wood-fired oven. "You want a dense, crusty bread, then let it get stale for two days," he says. More Vegetable Soups
Cantucci di Prato
Rating: Unrated
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In Tuscany, cantucci di Prato—miniature, anise-flavored almond biscotti—are traditionally served at the end of a meal with a glass of Tuscan dessert wine, vin santo, for dipping. "But, being English, Trudie and Sting often eat them with tea," Chef Joe Sponzo says. Il Palagio's vin santo (which is Italian for "holy wine") is made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes from the estate's own organic vineyards, which are dried in rafters before their sweet juice is pressed and fermented. More Italian Desserts
Bucatini is a large, tubular pasta (think spaghetti with a hole in the middle). It's great with thick sauces, such as this tomato-based one that chef Joe Sponzo enhances with peas from his garden and wild boar sausage from his local butcher. "It's a real guy dish and a favorite of Sting's—when he's eating meat," Sponzo says. "Right now he's macrobiotic." More Pasta Dishes