Most helpful positive review
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Mamma Mia, love this book!
on December 5, 2009
I'm an "Italian girl", born and bred in Brooklyn, I know my Italian food. I am a foodie and collect a roomful of cookbooks, and love this one along with the best of them. It's hard to explain the appeal of this cookbook. Yes, many recipes "seem" to be a revival of many we know, as one other reviewer chafed, that it's a repeat of the same old recipes with an ingredient changed here or there...well, I had to laugh...it's precisely that "ingredient here or there" that can make or break a dish, change it from ordinary to extraordinary...and Carmine delivers! The Pasta with sausage and broccoli in olive oil and Garlic, sounds like a simple straightforward recipe that's surely been done b/4, but not like this one! Using lots of fresh basil from the garden in summer (or frozen and used in winter), it comes out tasting like heaven and looks likewise and simple to make. It's a great family-style meal to feed a crowd and have made it many times. The recipe can be started ahead of time and finished in just minutes right before serving so it is piping hot and fresh to the table. The pasta and veggie are cooked in the same pot of water. It's just simplicity at its best. I've made shrimp fra diavolo (to eat lighter fare, ha!), it was simpler still. The Marsala dish uses a basic brown gravy recipe at back of book. I made a larger amount of the gravy one day, froze it into individualized portions for sev'l meals, and can take one out whenever the Marsala mood strikes--half the work is already done saving time and effort. This "cook once--eat many times" strategy is a Godsend when you are short on time but not appetite! I try to do this in general whenever I can. I even make extra of Carmine's toasted bread crumbs (with their blend of simple ingredients "here & there" again) to freeze; it is so tasty, I could make a meal out of just that. I look forward to trying many other dishes. This Foodie feels like I have found a hidden jewel. Great for beginners as well as advanced cooks.