Princeton’s Italian community has suffered more than one loss this winter, and the latest, of Dorothea’s House trustee Alessandra Mazzucato, is indeed a hard loss to endure.
My late mother adored Alessandra, who taught us Italian at the Princeton Adult School in the mid/late 1980s. Always a warm welcome, always a warm smile. We started going to Dorothea’s House events, too, another excuse to see Alessandra. For so many years now, it seemed she was everywhere, as she shared her many, many talents all over the Princeton community.
She was just one of those people who drew you in, and in whose glow you wanted to bask. I can assure her family that she will be fondly remembered by countless people, more than you could ever dream of.
I remember her telling me how she made her polenta with porcini mushrooms for Dorothea’s House’s annual Polenta Festa, and here is that description from a 2008 article I wrote for the Packet :
Alessandra Mazzucato…was bringing her polenta with porcini mushroom sauce (no tomatoes), a perennial favorite at the Festa. She pours prepared polenta into a pan and once it’s chilled, she cuts it into two layers. Then she cuts the layers into “lozenges” or diamonds. She makes 3 layers of polenta layered with the mushrooms and Montasio cheese. With each new layer she sets the lozenges at a different angle, so the sauce will seep between the staggered layers.
This was always one of the most popular dishes there, and it quickly disappeared. And Alessandra, while you have left us too soon, my mother will be overjoyed to see you.