Welcome to Party Trick, a monthly column where top tastemakers invite us inside their unforgettable gatherings and share their signature hosting rituals, plus a trusted item they’d never entertain without.
When the winter season rolls around, there’s nothing acclaimed actor, filmmaker and cookbook author Stanley Tucci loves more than inviting family and friends over for a night of delectable food and thrilling conversation. As a proud Italian American, Tucci is always looking for ways to incorporate elements of his heritage into the way he entertains. His go-to way of doing that is to serve classic comfort dishes from his childhood—and he’s sharing those recipes with everyone this holiday season.
The host of Searching for Italy has teamed up with S. Pellegrino to reintroduce pastina, an adored star-shaped pasta that was discontinued earlier in the year. S.Pellegrino Stelline, created in collaboration with the premium Italian pasta brand Rummo, is the centerpiece of “S. Pellegrino Presents: Stanley Tucci’s Stelline Two Ways,” a recipe kit curated by the chef-driven meal kit experts at World Chef/YumCrunch.
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The “ubiquitous part of the Italian pantry,” as Tucci calls the Stelline, shines in two essential Italian comfort dishes a part of the meal kit, brodo di gallina con polpettine di pollo (chicken soup with tiny meatballs) and pastina classica.
Tucci says, “These are recipes that are a part of every Italian family’s experience. This is the soup and pastina dish that my grandmother, mother, and aunts all made.” He further adds, “These two recipes are recipes that were often made when you were feeling unwell. You’d have the soup when you had a cold, and you when you had stomach issues, you would have the pasta with butter and cheese. It’s great comfort food.”
Tucci also shares an entertaining tip he learned from his Italian family members to spread the meal out across several courses. He notes the soup dish makes for a heartwarming starter in the colder months while the rich and creamy pasta serves as a satisfying main course.
As for drinks, Tucci always has a few bottles of S. Pellegrino on hand as it’s a staple in Italian households. However, the actor also believes you should always have a well-stocked bar when inviting friends over for a meal. Tucci says, “I think you have to have nice bottles of wine—they don’t have to be fancy! You also need to have something non-alcoholic for people who don’t drink.”
And, as a last piece of advance for those entertaining this season, Tucci urges hosts to make sure their guests are as comfortable as possible and always make sure there is plenty of food left over.
“You want to make sure that people have eaten enough, and hopefully, people will go back for seconds. And if they do, there’s still should be food left too.”
Sarah DiMarco (she/her) is the associate editor at VERANDA, covering all things design, architecture, art, gardens, jewelry, travel, wine and spirits. She also manages social media for the brand.