Did you know Valerie Bertinelli has a penchant for condiments or that she’d love to cook for the pope? The host of Valerie’s Home Cooking, Saturdays at 12|11c, recently spoke with FN Dish for a fun Q&A. Learn a little more about the cooking show host, including her dream dinner party and whom she likes to cook with, and find out her favorite tunes to listen to while cooking.
What’s the first dish you learned to make?
Valerie Bertinelli: Lasagna. I love lasagna. I must have been a tween.
What was the most-memorable meal you’ve ever had?
VB: I do always come back to my grandmother’s soup and there’s something so full of love in it. It’s a cappelletti in brodo and actually Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali’s restaurant, Mozza, they do a version of my grandmother’s soup that I could swear I was in her kitchen eating it. I was blown away when I had that soup. … It’s so simple; it’s just a perfect broth and a perfect cappelletti, and that’s all it is. I used to try and make it for my son, and I never quite perfected it. One of these days I will.
What’s your favorite cookbook and why?
VB: You know what? I love all of Ina’s cookbooks because they’re spot-on. She makes it really easy, and when you follow her directions, it really comes out perfectly. Her cookbooks are probably my favorite.
Is there one thing that you can’t leave the grocery store without?
VB: My coconut milk creamer. That’s what I put in my coffee every morning, and I seem to go through it very quickly.
What’s the most-surprising thing we’d find in your fridge?
VB: I’m kind of like a condiment hoarder. I have one whole shelf that is just condiments. … I think I probably have 15 different kinds of mustards, a couple different kinds of mayos.
If you were throwing a dinner party, whom would you invite (dead or alive), and what would you serve?
VB: Oh, goodness! Who would I invite, dead or alive? This sounds so corny, but Jesus. I want to pick his brain. Pope Francis, President Obama, Marilyn Monroe. That just sounds like such a weird list, but these are people that I find fascinating. What would I cook for them? … I’d probably be too nervous to cook for any of them. You know, maybe I’d put together … like a little, like, fish taco bar and we’d all make our own tacos as we stand together talking. … I’d probably make my Cajun fish tacos and put all the seasonings and everything, or maybe then do a pizza night and make all the dough for them and then we’d all … put our toppings on, and it gives us time to talk. And you’d see what everyone’s favorites are as they put it on their pizza, so either a taco bar or a pizza … party.
What’s your favorite food city?
VB: LA is damn good. I love New Orleans, but I don’t get there enough, so I’m loving LA. There’s a lot of fabulous restaurants here.
What’s your favorite kind of dessert?
VB: Anything lemon. … I love lemon meringue. I love lemon curd. I love lemon cookies. And then you put ginger in there — lemon and ginger — and I’m in heaven.
Would you say you have a sweet tooth, or do you prefer savory food?
VB: I would say mainly I’m a savory girl and every so often I like a sweet. If I was stranded on a desert island I would want savory food, because then I could always grab a piece of fruit from any tree that was there. But I don’t think I could live without any really great pasta sauce.
Who’s your favorite person to cook with?
VB: My husband. He’s very, very handy in the kitchen. … He always knows how to make a mean cocktail while we’re cooking.
When you cook, do you like to listen to any music? What’s your jam?
VB: Oh, gosh, yeah! Well, usually Tom and I will put on some cool jazz, or we’ll put some hits on, you know, of the season. … I love cooking with music on in the house.