Mary Ann Esposito, PBS chef and host of “Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito,” America’s longest running television cooking series, was asked to create a recipe in honor of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for the National Italian American Foundation’s 45th Anniversary Gala. NIAF’s 2020 Leonardo da Vinci Award for Leadership in Health and Science will be presented live to the 79-year-old physician and immunologist during the virtual gala on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Setting the pace of the evening, chef Esposito will share the tribute recipe in a video during the pre-show festivities, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to make Esposito’s Fettucine Fauci ai Funghi Freschi, a delightful fettucine pasta with fresh mushroom sauce, to eat while watching the gala online (the honoree is also expected to enjoy this culinary tribute). The recipe is available at ciaoitalia.com.
Chef Esposito has been involved with NIAF for the past 15 years, promoting the history, recipes and joy of Italian regional food. She has documented Italian luminaries and food in tribute videos as well as in the NIAF quarterly magazine, Ambassador.
Throughout the gala, there will be special appearances by Fauci supporters, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Andrea Bocelli, Francis Ford Coppola, Tony Bennett, Al Pacino, Alan Alda, Michael Douglas, Patti LuPone, Joe Mantegna, Isabella Rossellini, John Turturro, Mario Andretti, Marisa Tomei, Mike Piazza, Franco Harris, Connie Francis, Leon Panetta, Frankie Valli, Lidia Bastianich, Dick Vermeil, Dion DiMucci, Giuliana Rancic, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Dionne Warwick and Neil Sedaka, along with surprise guests who will offer personal tributes.
NIAF is the nation’s leading Italian American organization, serving as a bridge between the United States and Italy and strengthening mutual understanding through governmental, economic and cultural ties. With a core mission of education, the foundation provides scholarships and grants to institutions and high-achieving students to further their education in all fields and connect to their heritage.
Non-NIAF members can register for the virtual gala by purchasing a ticket for $100. The deadline to register is Oct. 30 at midnight. To do so, visit niaf.org.