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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (September 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653456
  • ASIN: B001FOR54O
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,415,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this delightful book, Luongo and Strausman, friends and restaurateurs in Manhattan, put a personal spin on the divide between cuisine from Italy and the American variety. Each chapter opens with lengthy back-and-forths between the two over the merits of certain ingredients or cooking methods, and their disagreements over these specifics is as edifying as they are amusing to read; the recipes aren't all simple, but with Luongo and Strausman's vocal observations and tips close at hand, those familiar with Italian cooking techniques should have no trouble mastering them. Luongo's loyalties to his native Tuscany show in recipes such as Garfagnana Bean and Apple Soup and Sausage and Cranberry Beans with Polenta, though he also refers to many of Italy's other regions in his focus on authenticity. Strausman defends his Americanized vision of Italian food with dishes both old-fashioned (Chicken Parmigiana) and chicly modern in flavor (Carrot and Ricotta Ravioli). The indispensable chapter of meatballs and meatloaf crystallizes their disagreements, as Luongo defends small, flavor-packed meatballs with unusual ingredients like amaretto cookies, mostly served on their own, and Strausman advocates the plump kind Americans serve atop spaghetti and tomato sauce. Cooks interested in the distinctions between regional Italian specialties yet still fond of the American versions they grew up with will savor almost every recipe in this spirited book. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

In this delightful book, Luongo and Strausman, friends and restaurateurs in Manhattan, put a personal spin on the divide between cuisine from Italy and the American variety. Each chapter opens with lengthy back-and-forths between the two over the merits of certain ingredients or cooking methods, and their disagreements over these specifics is as edifying as it is amusing to read; the recipes aren’t all simple, but with Luongo and Strausman’s vocal observations and tips close at hand, those familiar with Italian cooking techniques should have no trouble mastering them. Luongo’s loyalties to his native Tuscany show in recipes such as Garfagnana Bean and Apple Soup and Sausage and Cranberry Beans with Polenta, though he also refers to many of Italy’s other regions in his focus on authenticity. Strausman defends his Americanized vision of Italian food with dishes both old-fashioned (Chicken Parmigiana) and chicly modern in flavor (Carrot and Ricotta Ravioli). The indispensable chapter of meatballs and meatloaf crystallizes their disagreements, as Luongo defends small, flavor-packed meatballs with unusual ingredients like amaretto cookies, mostly served on their own, and Strausman advocates the plump kind Americans serve atop spaghetti and tomato sauce. Cooks interested in the distinctions between regional Italian specialties yet still fond of the American versions they grew up with will savor almost every recipe in this spirited book.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly )

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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I love Italian food because if its simplicity and this is Italian at its best.
Alison D. Curry
I have been a fan of Mark for years, ever since I saw him on the martha stewart show, and I have been using his tomato sauce recipe ever since.
T. Kelley
Next weekend I'll tackle the meatballs, if I can decide which recipe to try first!
toymagnet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My wife worked for Pino Luongo for years and years.

Mark Strausman cooked our wedding dinner.

And now, burdened by this long collaboration and friendship, I'm going to try to convince you of a proposition you may find extremely unlikely: This is the most practical --- and certainly the most fun --- Italian cookbook out there.

Let's start with the fun. These guys, as the title almost suggests, are goofballs who will fight with one another over just about anything. Start with meatballs. Luongo insists they should be pan-fried in olive oil, "only occasionally served with tomato sauce and never on the same plate as spaghetti." Strausman wouldn't dream of cooking them that way. For him, meatballs are to be simmered in tomato sauce and invariably to be served over pasta.

And they have their reasons --- just ask them. In one of the dialogues that launch each section, Luongo and Strausman explore the philosophical depths of their disagreement. Here's a highly abridged version:

Strausman: I like the sense of abundance you get with a big, juicy meatball.

Luongo: But the proportion is all off.

Strausman: Is the dish too humble for you? Oh, I forgot: You were born in northern Italy, wearing an ascot.

Luongo: What you're talking about has no basis in Italian tradition.

Strausman: Meatballs are all about the meat. Italian-Americans came to this country with nothing, and as soon as they could afford to buy meat, however inexpensive, they created big, juicy meatballs.

Luongo: Yes, you put raw balls of meat into tomato sauce and cook them long enough to suck all the juices out of the meat.

Who wins? You do. "A cook-off is in order --- let the reader decide," Strausman proclaims. And so you can.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By shast on October 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the best kind of cookbook -- one that combines amazing, delicious recipes, easy to follow instructions and lots of helpful hints with amusing anecdotes and fascinating back-stories. Of course you'll find new versions of Italian classics, but I was interested to see that they included really fabulous-sounding grilling recipes too.
I have already tried Pino's Baked Penne and Mark's Spaghetti which I've had at Barneys and I'm happy to duplicate at home. I think it might be fun to do a meatball cookoff to see which of these chef's meatball recipes my own family prefers.
I definitely recommend this cookbook!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited to receive this cookbook in the mail as its cover truly sets the stage for what's inside. You get two perpectives with a little light-hearted competiton thrown in. Fred's Spaghetti was the perfect, quick meal to throw together when I noticed some late green beans in the garden. I'm definitely looking forward to my next pick from this book, it's sure to be equally as delicious. Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen has become a coffee table centerpiece so I can flip through and enjoy the beautiful photos and entertaining words. It's highly recommended for all skill levels!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alison D. Curry on October 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've already made a week's worth of wonderful meals from Two Meatballs! I love Italian food because if its simplicity and this is Italian at its best. The ingredients lists are short - most of the recipes need just a well-stocked pantry - not a trip to the market. The instructions are clear and simple. The conversations at the chapter intros about the how and why of food preparation are lively and informative. As I child, I recall my best friend's grandmother spending the day in the kitchen to make Spaghetti and Meatballs, but last night I made the "Pasta with Meatballs with Mushrooms" within 30 minutes. The fresh pasta recipe is fun and delicious.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By toymagnet on October 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is such a great cookbook, even if you don't make the recipes! It's a fun and interesting read for anyone interested in Italian food. I made the Farro and Bean Soup Lucca-style this weekend, and it was easy and delicious. Next weekend I'll tackle the meatballs, if I can decide which recipe to try first!

I've been eating in these guys' restaurants for years, so it's great to get a peek into their dynamic. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott Bright VINE VOICE on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I borrow cookbooks from the library and buy a very select few that really appeal to me. This book is already on my wishlist for my next Amazon order!

Mark's Spaghetti and Meatballs are amazing and were easy for a meatball novice like me. My family raved, and even my picky 4-year-old wanted seconds. I'm recommending the book on the strength of this recipe alone. It was so good that I'm looking forward to trying many more of the rest.

However, beware the meatloaf! I tried Mark's Mom's Meatloaf, and that recipe was written with mistakes. It calls for 2 tablespoons of salt for a meatloaf made with 2 pounds of ground round. I knew that wasn't right. I cut it down to 2 teaspoons, but I really should've cut it to 1. Some of the seasonings look correct and some don't (like the 1/2 cup horseradish). I wish the recipe had been written correctly. I couldn't find an email for the authors or their restaurant or I'd include the right proportions here.

I'd give this book five stars if I'd just tried the meatball recipe. I have to take off a star for the meatloaf recipe that wasn't properly cut down from restaurant size. I hope there aren't any more like that.

(review by Mrs. Scott)
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