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Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Families Share Their Stories, Recipes, And Traditions Hardcover – September 22, 1999


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Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Families Share Their Stories, Recipes, And Traditions + Enamelware 14" Timpano Basin, Vintage White with Blue Rim
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (September 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688159028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688159023
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The best Italian food is prepared and enjoyed at home. Understanding this and the profound connection between food and Italian family life, Joan Tropiano Tucci (mother of Stanley Tucci, producer and star of the food-movie hit Big Night) and chef Gianni Scappin (who coached Stanley in food-making for the film) have created Cucina & Famiglia, a celebration of multigenerational Italian home cooking. With food writer Mimi Shanley Taft, they present 200 accessible recipes for every course of an Italian meal, while providing glimpses of the family life from which they and the dishes sprang. Cooks wanting a solid repertoire of at-home Italian dishes and anyone interested in Italian food culture will welcome the book.

Beginning with photo-illustrated portraits of the Topiano, Tucci, and Scappin families, the authors present the dishes they grew up on and still make today. Outstanding versions of familiar dishes like Bruschetta with Tomato, Fried Zucchini Fritters, Chicken Cacciatore, and Ricotta Cake are offered with "finds" such as Lasagna Made with Polenta and Gorgonzola Cheese; Farfalle with Artichokes, Potatoes, and Prosciutto; Shellfish and Bean Casserole; and the film-featured Timpano Alla Big Night, a drum of ziti, salami, provolone, meatballs, and more. Each recipe is introduced by the author to whom it "belongs," and these notes are telling. (For example, Scappin writes of Angela's Pear Cake, "My Aunt Angela was like a second mother to me, and every afternoon she baked a different cake."). To savor such a past, as well as the food that accompanied it, Cucina & Famiglia is indispensable. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Combing the flavors of the South and North, Tropiano Tucci blends her spicy Calabrian dishes with Scappin's flavors from the Veneto. And in an added surprise, Tropiano Tucci reveals the authentic, previously secret family recipe for the Timp no, made famous in son Stanley Tucci's 1996 film Big Night. The dishAa thin sheet of dough shaped like a drum and layered with salami, provolone, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, pasta and moreAsatisfies expectations; it's rich, extravagant and challenging. The book is layered throughout with stories of preparing food for and making the film (when director Tucci met Le Madri chef Scappin, who is now on the faculty of the Culinary Institute of New York) and with anecdotes from the extended Tucci and Scappin families. The recipes all give proof of what Stanley Tucci calls "our [Italian] obsession with food." Many recipes (Caponata, Stuffed Peppers, Simple Chicken Breast with Sage and Cream-filled Cannoli) are traditional, but there are many personalized dishes as well, like Fried Pasta, Tucci Family Focaccia and, from Scappin's sister, Livia's Tiramis?. Full flavors abound in such meals as Braised Italian-Style Pot Roast (made in the oven with red wine, porcini mushrooms and the usual aromatics); Buckwheat Noodles with Swiss Chard, Potatoes, Cabbage, Fontina and Sage; and Chicken Rolled and Stuffed with Smoked Mozzarella, Spinach and Prosciutto. This is an appealingly collegial addition to the groaning shelves of Italian cookbooks. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Family traditions translate to great foods!
gregory44@webtv.net
Enamel basins like the one in the movie are not made any more, so they are difficult to find.
Sam Hershey
Heartwarming stories and fantastic traditional recipes.
Joanne Salatrik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I grew up in an Italian community in Hartford much like the one the Tuccis describe. I was moved to buy this book after seeing Chef Scappin and the Tuccis on a cooking show. Their Manicotti recipe was the same as my grandmother's even though we are Sicilian and they come from Northern Italy!
Dona Concetta made stuffed artichokes for me whenever she knew I was coming home and her recipe is remarkably similar to the one in the book.
I couldn't put down the book. As well as being an excellent cookbook, it is a really interesting view of two fascinating families and their close knit community. The book made me long for the simpler days in my grandfather's garden eating fresh figs and picking tomatoes while the Zias sat and gossiped!
Buy this book, you will love it, particularly if you are of Italian descent.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sam Hershey on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many will buy this book for the Timpano recipe. I must say that there is just so much more to this book besides that. I've made close to 15 of the dishes in it and they are all gold so far. In particular, I must recommend the vegetable torte. The crust is absolutely fantastic and easy to make if you have a food processor.
As for the Timpano itself, a friend and I made it and it was quite the event. It took about three days to make sure that we had all the things we needed (sauce and meat need to be made ahead of time, not to mention side dishes). One thing to consider before attempting it is the right basin. Enamel basins like the one in the movie are not made any more, so they are difficult to find. I actually was able to secure one from a company recommended by the book, but it took a few days to track down a retailer. I was also able to get one that looked exactly like the one in the movie, but it was used and I don't know what for, so for the sake of being sanitary I went with the one from the retailer. After it was all said and done, the Timpano was everything we expected and more. Follow the recipe exactly and don't skimp on any of the ingredients, it may seem like collosal ammounts of food, but I tell you that it is all accurate.
Bottom line: fantastic cookbook with excellent recipies, comprehensive and easy instructions with preparations requirements that will appeal to everyone from the novice to the expert! Buy it now!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It was wonderful to read the stories of the Tropiano, Tucci and Scappin family and then to celebrate their history at my own dinner table. The recipes have the ring of authenticity -- simple, a minimum of ingredients and quick to make. Everything I have tried has turned out great, especially the Anise Biscotti.
I will continue cooking through Cucina & Famiglia with great pleasure.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I made a the veggie tart from this and it was GREAT! I had some people over and they couldn't stop raving over it. They give you ideas on how to vary the filling and that's what I did...it's a great book!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jon Kortebein on November 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's clear the recipes in "Cucina & Famiglia" have been handed down and refined within the family over the years because they all work very well. They're not complicated, but they are satisfying. A few are even inventive, like chicken lasagna that uses besciamella sauce in place of cheese, lentils with spaghetti (once you taste this you wonder why you hadn't tried it long ago) and of course, the timpano. I find myself returning to this book more than any other except perhaps "Vegetarin Cooking for Everyone".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By gregory44@webtv.net on September 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Family traditions translate to great foods! Do yourself a favour,read about the families,then the RECIPES. You can feel the culture as you prepare the totally honest recipes.This is a labor of love any cook can appreciate.You will also become a much better cook!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Al the Pal on February 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a work of love, and as we all know...Food is Love. This cookbook is as interesting to read as it is to use. The stories of the emmigration of their families from Italy, bringing their culinary traditions with them and developing new ones in America, are as facinating as the food you'll prepare.
Joan Tropiano Tucci is the mother of actor Stanley Tucci, who wrote the forward and made the movie "Big Night" about a failing restaurant trying to come up with "the" signature dish to keep it alive. The timpano recipe from the movie is here.
There are chapters on appetizers, eggs, soups, pasta, bread, different meats, seafood, vegetables and desserts. Everything you need to know to prepare a fabulous meal for your family and friends is here.
Follow the recipes and you will enjoy a lush culinary experience that can only result from well developed family traditions. Get out your Pavarotti records and get cookin'. "Most of the world eats to live, but the Italians live to eat." Mange, mange!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the rare cookbooks I enjoyed READING as well as using. The family stories illustrate the importance of food in our culture, and the recipes are fabulous. I couldn't wait to get cooking! Thank you Joan, Gianni, Stanley and Stan!
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