Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Feb 18, 2019

Have you ever thumbed through a cookbook only to roll your eyes and wonder, who has the time? And who has all these ingredients laying around? Italian food expert and cookbook author Francesca Montillo joins us for a conversation about her new cookbook. For anyone who loves cooking Italian food but doesn’t have the time or the inclination to concoct elaborate meals, The 5-Ingredient Italian Cookbook takes authentic regional Italian recipes and ever-so-slightly simplifies them to make them accessible to busy cooks.

We chat with Francesca about the differences between northern and southern Italian cuisine, why Italian food is so universally loved, what key ingredients and tools you need in your kitchen, what Americans get wrong about Italian cooking, and when to let yourself bend the rules a little.

Buy a copy of the cookbook on Amazon!

Follow Francesca Montillo on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, or find her on her website, Lazy Italian Culinary Travels.

Check out two earlier episodes we taped with Francesca a few years ago, Episode 151 {COOKING} and Episode 152 {COOKING, Part 2}.

***Scroll down for a sample recipe from the book! And remember, you we're giving away one copy of The 5-Ingredient Italian Cookbook—visit our recent post on Instagram for details.***


SPONSOR THE SHOW: Reach expats, future expats, and travelers all over the world. Send us an email to get the conversation started. 

DONATE: Click here to send financial support to The Bittersweet Life via PayPal. (You can also find a Donate button on the desktop version of our website.) The show needs your support to continue. 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: If you have a question or a topic you want us to address, send us an email at

You can also connect to us through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – Better yet, tag #thebittersweetlife with your story for a chance to be featured!

NEW TO THE SHOW? Don't be afraid to start with Episode 1: OUTSET

SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to the podcast to make sure you never miss an episode.

WRITE A REVIEW: Leave us a rating and a written review on iTunes so more listeners can find us.

BOOK: Want to read Tiffany's book, Midnight in the Piazza? Learn more here or order on Amazon.

TOUR ROME: If you're traveling to Rome, don't miss the chance to tour the city with Tiffany as your guide! 



Excerpt from The 5-Ingredient Italian Cookbook by Francesca Montillo.

Copied here with permission.

Ingredients: 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 6 pork sausages with casings removed, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 3/4 cup heavy cream, 3/4 pound pasta like rigatoni or ziti or penne, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

1) In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the oil, garlic and sausage. With a wooden spoon, crumble the sausage until it resembles ground meat. Add the wine and cook for about 10 minutes.
2) Add the cream, reduce heat to low, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than directed on the package. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
3) Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring well to coat the pasta. Continue cooking until the pasta is fully cooked and all the flavors are well incorporated. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water if a thinner sauce is desired.
4) Remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring well to incorporate. Serve immediately.

Substitution: While pork sausages are traditionally used, you can substitute chicken ones for a milder flavor.


© The Bittersweet Life – Web and show content can only be used with written permission