© Chris Quinlan
A student gets pointers

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandmothers more than I can say. Nanny Quinlan taught me to mix a perfect cocktail and Nanny McGrath could make a mean Irish soda bread. But sometimes I wished I had an Italian nonna to show me how to make flawless pasta from scratch or a rich meat ragù. My wish came true this past weekend, when Dora Marzovilla of Manhattan’s I Trulli did just that at a demo in which she showed how to prepare classic Pugliese dishes, like a moist focaccia with tomatoes and oregano and handmade cavatelli with broccoli rabe and almonds. But what I really can’t wait to make is the panzerrotti (fried dough filled with tomatoes and mozzarella). I think it would pair perfectly with one of Nanny’s cocktails!

If you also crave nonna-worthy recipes, try these Italian dishes from Food & Wine's recipe archives: