Guess what, Mark Wahlberg went to Rome and fell in love with Italian food! Plus, his mom's pasta salad recipe

In the Food Talks, we interview celebrities on their favorite Italian restaurants, wines, recipes… Because Hollywood people love Italian food just like anyone else!

We meet Mark Wahlberg sitting on a couch, in a comfortable Beverly Hills hotel room, while he is presenting his latest comedy ‘Daddy’s Home 2’, with his buddy Will Ferrell and their respective screen parents, Mel Gibson and John Lithgow.

For one of his latest movies—’All the Money in the World’ by Ridley Scott— he spent a few weeks in Rome, and obviously fell in love with the city’s history, the Sistine Chapel, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain…. But mostly he fell in love with the quality of our Italian food. Knowing his strict regimen, and his Hollywood in-famous shape, we at Foodiamo wanted to know more. And we did ask.

Mark Wahlberg on Italian Food, and More

  1. Italian food in Italy, is the best. “The quality of the ingredients is just unbelievable. I would eat more than one-course meal, everyday, and I would just feel great because everything is so fresh and locally grown. If I ate like that in the States I would gain fifty pounds!”
  2. In Rome I discovered gelato. “I never, never, ever eat gelato, even in Boston, because it is always full of preservatives. In Rome, it is light and fresh, delicious with very simple flavours with real nuts like pistachios and hazelnut. No need to add bad stuff like cookie dough or cotton candy. Keep it simple and you can eat it everyday! I certainly did.”
  3. The best restaurant is in Rome. “Hands down La Pergola, a temple of international gastronomy, historically the first and, still today, the only three-star Michelin in Rome. I was so lucky to try chef Heinz Beck’s amazing food creations. They have the best menu, service and wine cellar in town”.
  4. My favorite dishes at La Pergola. “Any kind of seafood was just so tasty, flavorful and healthy. My fav were smoked scallop tartare and red beets, scampi in spicy ‘nduja crust with aubergine purée and infusion of smoked tuna. The best dessert I’ve ever had was SFERA GHIACCIATA AI FRUTTI ROSSI SU CREMA AL TE’ CON LAMPONI CRISTALLIZZATI. In English, it would be “berry iced sphere on a tea cream, with crystallized raspberries”. [recipe in Italian here]
  5. I didn’t know Ridley Scott was a foodie. “Ridley is one of the best directors in the world. His taste is excellent in every field. He’s a very curious person and loves to eat really sophisticated food. His fav dish is/was/always will be clams in white wine with parsley”.
  6. My favorite dish at home. “The macaroni salad, no one makes it as well as my mom Alma., here’s her recipe. Buon appetito, my new favorite Italian phrase”.

Mark Wahlberg’s Mom’s Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound macaroni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain. In a large bowl, toss the macaroni with olive oil, garlic powder, celery salt and mayonnaise and toss to coat. Stir in the green pepper, celery, onion, parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The dish is best when cold.