A Conversation with…Laura Pensiero

Chef, Dietician, Restaurateur, Green Market Czarina and Author of HUDSON VALLEY MEDITERRANEAN

Mission: “To help people eat healthily and above all, happily.”

Experience that changed her life: While working in a hospital as a dietician she realized she needed to do something to change the boring and bland diets that were being served to her patients, so she went to culinary school to learn how to create healthy dishes that still tasted decadently delicious.

Mantra: “I absolutely refuse to let the word diet hijack my life—and I don’t think you should, either. Smart eating is not about settling for less; it’s about heaping more good stuff on your plate.

Work: Owner Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market & Catering, partner in NYC’s fresh young Just Salad restaurants, cookbook authro, hospitals and restaurant consultant.

Lives: Hudson Valley (wants to make it a culinary destination, like Napa).

Favorite food: breakfast (could also be lunch): a frittata made with last night’s vegetables

Signature dishe: Skizza – an unleavened-flatbread “pizza,” which cooks like the delectable super-thin Neapolitan-style pizza. The crispy shell provides the canvas for just about any seasonal ingredients. For fall Laura likes Spaghetti squash, Brie, and coppa; Sweet potato slices, prosciutto, and crispy fried sage leaves; Braised Migliorelli Farm Tuscan kale, Northwind Farms chorizo, and Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue; • Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (page 000), smoked
salmon, and capers.

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