“Beyond the Pasta” takes a step forward~

Biba Caggiano says, “Mark, you have captured the essence of the Italian people.”

“Beyond the Pasta: 28 Days of Recipes, Language, and Life with an Italian Family” is a labor of love for me at the moment. The book is a travelogue/memoir/cookbook with each “chapter” being a daily entry based on the e-mails I sent home from Viterbo in August 2005. Each daily entry starts with a photo and ends with one of the many recipes we prepared each day. In between the two, I write about my experience of the day: the things we cooked, the language I learned, the places we visited, and, most importantly, how I was allowed to become a part of this Italian family and given an intimate look into their daily life.

Today I received a very nice note from TV chef, cookbook author, and Sacramento restaurateur Biba Caggiano giving me permission to quote her for the book. Several months ago I sent the introduction and first three days to her with the hope of securing an endorsement. She called me weeks later and raved about the material saying, “Wow Mark, can you write! You have captured the essence of the Italian people.” High praise indeed, coming from an Italian.

If you aren’t familiar with Biba Caggiano, I highly recommend that you check out her website: www.biba-restaurant.com. Also, if you live near or happen to be in Sacramento, CA, you must eat at her restaurant. Her food is absolutely ITALIAN and not Italian-American. I ate there three times over the weekend of my 40th birthday and I thought I was back in Italy–her food is that authentic. Also, the recipes in her cookbooks are easy to make and delicious to eat. Truly, check out her website, restaurant, and her cookbooks. You won’t be disappointed.

Buon Appetito!


About the Author

Mark LeslieMark Leslie, seen cooking on NBC’s "The Today Show" and Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," loves to cook for anyone with an appetite, vacations in Italy every year, and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato placed before him. His first book, “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family,” tells of his life in Italy while cooking with an Italian grandmother. He shares his food experiences on his blog at www.beyondthepasta.com and has taught cooking classes in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, and across Alabama. While judging for high school culinary events, he was chosen by the US Department of Education to judge for their "National Education Startup Challenge." Mark can be regularly seen cooking on NBC-affiliate, WSFA-TV 12's "Alabama Live! each Friday, bringing easy, locally sourced recipes to central Alabama. His iTunes app “Beyond the Pasta” features helpful videos and more of Nonna’s family-style recipes that she shared with him, plus, upon its release, it was named “New & Noteworthy” by Apple. DaVinci Wines chose Mark as their "2012 Storyteller" in Language Arts—where they sent him to Vinci, Italy, to write about wine, food and life. Mark, his home and book have been featured in such national publications and blogs as House Beautiful, Paula Deen, Food Republic, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Field & Stream, and The Daily Meal. A Chicago-area native and “Yankee” by birth, Mark has lived in Alabama for over 24 years, and celebrates the fact that he started life eating farina, progressed to grits, and finally arrived at polenta. Buonissimo!View all posts by Mark Leslie →

"Beyond the Pasta" is owned and operated by Mark Leslie. Unless otherwise specified all content, writing, recipes and photography is original and held in copyright through the Library of Congress. It may not be used without the express written consent of Mark Leslie.