For more than four decades, Piero Selvaggio has been considered one of America’s great Italian restaurateurs. Influential food critic and editor Ruth Reichl once called his Valentino restaurant in Santa Monica “the best Italian restaurant in America.” It is known for its superior level of service, and Selvaggio is a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Service Award. Few places in America have a stronger wine program than Valentino, which has a wine cellar with more than 130,000 bottles. In addition to his Santa Monica restaurant, Selvaggio was a pioneer of the Las Vegas dining scene, opening an outpost of Valentino in 1999 at the Venetian Resort and Casino and, later, Giorgio Ristorante e Caffe at Mandalay Place.
1. Parmigiano. I can use it on almost everything! It is so versatile in the kitchen that it finds many uses. I personally like to just eat it by itself with a glass of wine.
2. Espresso machine. Once you acquire a taste for espresso, you cannot live without it. You start your day with it and finish your day with it.
3. Sauté pan. If pans could talk, they would certainly have many stories to tell. Once you have your favorite pan, you try to cook everything you possibly can with it.
4. Rachel Turner. She’s my director of operations and my right arm. Can you live without your right arm? It would be very, very difficult.
5. Fusilli alla Marinara with Ricotta Salata. It’s a favorite recipe of mine.