Celebrity foodies Debi mazar and Gabriele Corcos

But it turns out that Debi Mazar has talents in the kitchen as well as on the silver screen.

Working with her husband, Gabriele Corcos, the couple have put out a cookbook that serves as a companion to their Cooking Channel TV show where they share their love of Tuscan cooking.

Extra Virgin — the same name of their TV show — is packed with all the cookbook requisites: recipes, explanations of ingredients, drool-worthy photos. But it is also bulked up with a written dialogue, an ongoing conversation with the couple about their connections with food, their life together, stories of their childhoods, the home they’ve created in Tuscany and how to find romance when parenting two children.

Corcos comes by his passion for Italian cooking honestly, born in Florence and raised by a mother and a grandmother who knew how to cook. Mazar has a lifelong love of food, but that passion grew even stronger when she met her husband.

I’ve never seen their cooking show and, in fact, didn’t even realize there was one until I had already tried out a recipe from the book, but the cookbook stands on its own.

The recipes are generally hearty and simple — as Tuscan dishes should be — with a focus on fresh ingredients prepared simply.

The book is divided into 12 chapters, covering off everything from appetizers and pasta to risotto, panini, desserts and drinks. There are plenty of mouth-watering photos, but not as many as there could be. It would have been nice to see a few more of the dishes themselves than Corcos and Mazar walking hand in hand or entertaining. They may be the names that draw people to the cookbook, but I’d still rather see how that Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto should turn out than see them feeding each other.

When it came to choosing a recipe, I wanted a dish that reflected that ethos of Tuscan cooking but something that wasn’t overly simple.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana fit the bill. A slightly spicy sauce made from relatively basic ingredients lightly coats the long, hollow noodles that, in combination, make for a hearty and soothing dish — ideal for this seemingly never-ending winter.

The pancetta and cheese add a nice salty meatiness, while the hot pepper flakes give the sauce a bit of a warming kick, but not an overwhelming one.

It all comes together quickly — not much more of an effort than heating up a jar of spaghetti sauce, but with a lot more flavour.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

Bucatini is like a cross between spaghetti and macaroni — long, hollow noodles — that works well to sop up the slightly spicy sauce. Since there are very few ingredients in the pasta dish, I’d recommend using really good canned tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Mazar and Corcos suggest switching it up in the summer by using quartered heirloom cherry tomatoes rather than puréed canned tomatoes but to still serve it hot.

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

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