Enter Audrey Hepburn’s private world in this unique biography compiled by her son that combines recollections, anecdotes, excerpts from her personal correspondence, drawings, and recipes for her favorite dishes written in her own hand, and more than 250 previously unpublished personal family photographs.
Audrey at Home offers fans an unprecedented look at the legendary star, bringing together the varied aspects of her life through the food she loved—from her childhood in Holland during World War II, to her time in Hollywood as an actress and in Rome as a wife and mother, to her final years as a philanthropist traveling the world for UNICEF.
Here are fifty recipes that reflect Audrey’s life, set in the context of a specific time, including Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream—a celebration of liberation in Holland at the end of the war; Penne alla Vodka—a favorite home-away-from-home dish in Hollywood; Turkish-style Sea Bass—her romance with and subsequent marriage to Andrea Dotti; Boeuf à la Cuillère—Givenchy’s favorite dish, which she’d prepare when he’d visit her in Switzerland; and Mousse au Chocolat—dinner at the White House. Audrey also loved the basics: Spaghetti al Pomodoro was an all-time favorite, particularly when returning home from her travels, as was a dish of good vanilla ice cream. Each recipe is accompanied by step-by-step instructions, including variations and preparation tips, anecdotes about Audrey and her life, and a poignant collection of photographs and memorabilia.
Audrey at Home is a personal scrapbook of Audrey’s world and the things she loved best—her children, her friends, her pets. It is a life that unfolds through food, photographs, and intimate vignettes in a sophisticated and lovely book that is a must for Audrey Hepburn fans and food lovers.
Penne alla Vodka
As is often the case for the best dishes, the source for vichyssoise is nostalgia—for a childhood taste and a distant home.
In the summer of 1917, Louis Diat, the renowned chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York, was very worried about his native France, disheartened by war. His memory thus incessantly returned to a hot summer, many years earlier, when he and his older brother had cooled down their grandmother’s traditional leek and potato soup, pouring in a bit of milk.
That soup for him was akin to the madeleine that Marcel Proust had dipped in his tea. Only Louis Diat was a chef, not a writer. Instead of going “in search of lost time,” he gave the rediscovered dish the name of the city (Vichy) closest to his native Montmarault.
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 leek hearts (white parts)
3 ½ tablespoons (50 g) unsalted butter
1 quart (1 l) chicken broth
2 potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon (3 g) finely chopped chives
Freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup (120 ml) cream
Cook finely sliced onion and leek hearts in butter over a very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, chives, and nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce to taste and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Pour in the cream and blend everything together. Cool in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Purists suggest preparing it one day ahead.
Penne alla Vodka
⅓ onion or ½ scallion, peeled and finely chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
5 ½ tablespoons (80 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (230 g) tomato puree
½ cup (120 ml) good-quality
½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
Coarse sea salt
1 pound (500 g) penne piccole lisce
1 ounce (30 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano,
In a large skillet, sauté the onion and the pepper flakes in the butter over medium heat. Add the tomato puree, reduce the heat to low, and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the vodka. Cook down for 15 minutes and add the cream. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a handful of coarse sea salt and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, drain in a colander, and add to the sauce. Turn the heat to high, and pan-fry for one minute, tossing to thoroughly coat the pasta with sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.
You can make the recipe lighter by replacing the butter with olive oil and reducing the quantity of cream by half. You can also try these two typical variations, which will make the sauce even richer.
Finely chop 1 thick slice of pancetta, and brown it in the butter with the onion and red pepper flakes. Continue with the rest of the Penne alla Vodka recipe.
Quickly sauté thin smoked salmon slices with butter, chopped onion, and ½ cup of vodka. Let the alcohol evaporate and add the cream.