One-Pot Mediterranean Cooking with Samantha Ferraro
In Episode 74 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Liren talks to Samantha Ferraro of Little Ferraro Kitchen about her heritage, cooking by feeling, her book One-Pot Mediterranean Cooking, and more!
On the podcast, I recently spoke with Samantha Ferraro. Samantha is the founder of The Little Ferraro Kitchen, where she shares the diversity of her Sephardic heritage, her love for global flavors, and the places she has lived — from Brooklyn, the Big Island of Hawaii, Southern California, and now the Pacific Northwest.
In 2019, Samantha released her debut cookbook, The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen, inspiring countless cooks to bring a taste of the Mediterranean into their own kitchens. She’s back with a new cookbook, One-Pot Mediterranean, making weeknight cooking with Mediterranean flavors even simpler!
In this episode, we chat about her journey to writing her second cookbook, how her family heritage impacts her cooking, what makes a perfect Mediterranean spice cabinet, and more. Listen to the full episode here or keep reading for some of my favorite moments with Samantha.
How did you get started as a recipe blogger and cookbook author?
My mother’s side of the family is Sephardic, which means they are Jewish with ancestry from Turkey and Spain. Growing up, my mother would cook foods inspired by this culture. From an early age, I learned to make recipes like stuffed grape leaves and Fasulye, a Turkish bean stew. These recipes are so nostalgic to me and are still some of my favorite foods to this day.
In 2011, I started my website as a hobby while I was in school. During this time, I missed the foods and culture I grew up with, so I started making those classic recipes that I missed so much. As I posted them online, I got messages from people who also grew up with Sephardic families making these cultural recipes.
For years, I kept sharing recipes. Around 2016-2017, I chatted with a publisher about making a Mediterranean cookbook with these recipes and flavors that I naturally gravitate towards. That became my first book, The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen.
Tell us more about your book, One-Pot Mediterranean
After my first cookbook, The Little Ferraro Kitchen blossomed, and it has been amazing getting to do the things I enjoy. To take on my second cookbook, I left my full-time job after eight years in the Cheese Department at Whole Foods to focus more on the book.
When talking with my publisher, we discussed how I love one-pot cooking. I love recipes like braises, soups, rice, and chicken dishes. So, we incorporated all those Mediterranean flavors I love from the first book into these amazing one-pot recipes.
And to be clear, these are not recipes where you dump everything into a pot. These recipes have layers of amazing Mediterranean flavors. As you cook, you’ll still have to do things like searing chicken, sauteing spices, and so forth. In the end, it is a one-pot meal because the ingredients are all together and served in one pot.
One-Pot Mediterranean, by Samantha Ferraro (Page Street Publishing, 2023).