Julie Anne Rhodes
In another lifetime I was Italian. What’s not to love? Breathtaking countryside, bustling cities brimming with history and fine architecture, exquisite art, masterfully crafted jewelry, fashion to die for, let’s not even talk about how charming the men are, and my favorite food! Yes, I am Italian at heart. I look at the map, and just want to eat my way from one end of the boot and back again. Even with a diminished appetite, my mouth watered as I read one of the most prized gifts anyone has ever given me… ‘A Tuscan in the Kitchen’ by Pino Luongo, 1988.

Last October I wrote about reconnecting with my friend, Madeleine Gallay. I know her through a mutual friend … il favoloso hair and make-up artist Angelo Di Biase, who lived in her guest house. Angelo was called in to do my first ever test shots, he single-handedly convinced my parents to let me model, championed my career endlessly (see “Jewels” from The Roving Stove), came on tour with Duran Duran, and did our make-up when I married my ex. Sadly, he lost his battle with AIDS in 1995, so both Madeleine and I miss him dearly.

Madeleine Gallay

Angelo Di Biase, Julie Anne and Nick Rhodes

Madeleine came to visit me a couple weeks ago with the most elegantly (of course, she IS the definition of style… check out In New York Paris Tomorrow: ) wrapped copy of Pino Luongo’s book. She was completely unaware that Il Cantonori, the restaurant Pino owns in New York, has been one of my favorites since the early 1980’s! In my excitement over getting my hands on some of my favorite Italian recipes ever, I hastily overlooked the inscription inside the book, so she asked me to read it. “Madeleine, Happy Easter ’92, Love Angelo.” I felt as if both of my friends had come to wish me well. I was so touched that Madeleine would share such a treasure, but she insisted that Angelo would have wanted it that way. The perfect gift to boost my morale and whet my appetite again.
When I emailed Madeleine asking for a picture, and what she thought of my doing the entry, her response was “Angelo would beam, shake that leonine mane and drawl a barely intelligible dahlinggg.” She was so spot on, I could feel his presence again… “stirring people around like clouds in your coffee, meaning well and usually right.”

Julie Anne Rhodes

I will leave you with my favorite quote from the book (oh, how I relate… couldn’t have said it better myself), and my favorite Tuna recipe.

“For me, cooking is about creating magic from something very real. My experience as an actor led me to become a cook. Acting is an ephemeral art-it vanishes like smoke. But cooking is very real and lets me create something of substance from my imagination and emotions.”
Tonnaccio Al Pesto
Grilled Tuna with Marinade of Pesto & Vinaigrette
Salsa al pesto: Make as much of this as you want–it keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, and it can be frozen for as long as you need. It can be served with many dishes–with pasta, cold or warm, with fish (preceding and following recipes), veal, shellfish, chicken, or salad. It should be served at room temperature or chilled, but never cooked.
  • fresh basil
  • pignolis (pine nuts)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
Separate the basil leaves from the stems, discard the stems, and wash the leaves. Grind the basil and the pignolis nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly pour in olive oil, mixing the sauce as you do so, until it reaches the consistency of mud.

  • pesto sauce
  • red wine vinegar
  • fresh tomatoes, diced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • tuna steaks, cut at least 1 inch thick
  • lemons, cut in half
To make sauce, combine equal amounts of pesto and vinegar with 3 times the quantity of tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste. Mix well and set aside.

Wet the tuna with olive oil on both sides and broil or grill it over hot coals until rare. Cut in thin slices and spread sauce over the top. Serve with lemon halves on the side.
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