THIS BOOK WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT MY MANY FRIENDS, BOTH in Chicago and in Puglia. First of all, I want to thank Tom Valenti and Paola Pinto for introducing me to some wonderful Puglian cooks who shared with me the recipes of their tradition and helped me get to know their region. Paola’s coordination made the research for this book manageable, and the recipes she shared with me have a special place in my cooking and teaching.
I also want to thank all of my friends in the United States who believed in this project and supported me through the writing and dreaming. They selflessly tastetested the recipes and provided invaluable feedback. Special thanks go to Michelle Chaisson, who not only served as a research assistant on a trip to Puglia but also tasted many of the recipes (including some that required an adventurous spirit) and helped with some of the photography. This book would not have been the same without her support and help. Rissa Reddan, who was always up for a taste test, constantly brainstormed ideas with me and believed in the project. Brooke Vuckovic provided much-appreciated guidance, read the first draft of the book, tested recipes, and gave invaluable feedback.
My greatest thanks go to my husband, Michael Potts, who enthusiastically supported the project from day one and even before. His energy and enthusiasm never wavered through multiple trips to Puglia; many days, nights, and weekends of cooking; and many days of photo shoots. He fearlessly tasted every recipe in the book and provided constructive feedback. This book would truly not have been possible without him.
Thanks also go to the people of Puglia, who are proud of their region and its traditions. They always welcome me with open arms, helping me discover the beauties and secrets of this amazing piece of land, one recipe at a time.
Finally, thanks to Agate Publishing and Doug Seibold for believing in this book and my mission to share my easy and delicious Puglian recipes with food lovers everywhere.
Any mistakes in the book are, of course, mine and mine alone.