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My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South Hardcover – November 8, 2010


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My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South + Southern Italian Desserts: Rediscovering the Sweet Traditions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (November 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393065162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393065169
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Recipes such as sagne chine (Calabrese lasagne), vruocculi ca' savuzuizza (sausage and broccoli rabe), and pipi 'mpajanati (sweet pepper fritters) highlight this brilliant, comprehensive cookbook by Calabrian-born Costantino (who now resides in Northern California) and Fletcher (cookbook author and San Francisco Chronicle columnist). And while the region is hardly undiscovered, as the subtitle suggests (there have been several book in recent years on the region, and it's a favorite vacation spot for northern Europeans), Costantino certainly digs deep into the cuisine, highlighting authentic recipes along with an insightful narrative. She offers recipes for pane calabrese, a thick-crusted bread with a soft, tangy middle that the region takes pride in: homemade ricotta cheese and swordfish rolls with breadcrumb stuffing. She offers explanations on Calabrese meats (soppressatta, spalla, salsiccia, 'nduja), cheeses (butirro, caciocavallo), pastas (cannaruozzoli, scilatelli, and the Arbëresh, or Albanian-influenced, couscous), as well as an entire chapter on preserves, such as fresh fig jam; mushrooms in oil with hot peppers (ubiquitous throughout Calabria), fennel and garlic; and a liqueur made from mandarin oranges. Costantino's cookbook offers home cooks a delightful journey along the toe of Italy's boot. (Nov.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

Starred Review. Recipes such as sagne chine (Calabrese lasagne), vruocculi ca' savuzuizza (sausage and broccoli rabe), and pipi 'mpajanati (sweet pepper fritters) highlight this brilliant, comprehensive cookbook... Costantino certainly digs deep into the cuisine, highlighting authentic recipes along with an insightful narrative.... Costantino's cookbook offers home cooks a delightful journey along the toe of Italy's boot.

More About the Author

Cookbook author and teacher Rosetta Costantino was born and raised in Verbicaro, a small wine-producing hill town in Calabria, at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula.
Her parents shaped her connection to food and the land. Her father, a master cheesemaker and winemaker, tended the family's olive groves, vineyards and the farm's goats and sheep. Almost all their food came from their property or the nearby Mediterranean. Her mother and grandmothers knew how to live from the land, how to grow vegetables and preserve them for the winter months, and how to make bread and friselle from scratch. They knew how to make pasta with only flour and water and shape it every which way, even rolling it around a knitting needle to make the famous Calabrian fusilli.
As a child, she learned from them. Rosetta remembers taking wheat to the mill, returning home coated from head to toe in white flour. She watched them press olives into oil, and inserted strips of tomatoes into the glass bottles they used to preserve them.

The family moved to the Bay Area in California when Rosetta was 14 years old, and though they settled into the fast pace of life there, they kept their traditions. They continued to grow their own produce, raise rabbits, make their own ricotta, and cure their own salsiccia Calabrese with spicy peperoncino from their garden. Even after she earned a chemical-engineering degree at the University of California Berkeley and went on to a successful career in Silicon Valley, Rosetta retained her love of her family's traditional foodways.

In 2001, as a stay-at-home mom, Rosetta returned to her roots in the kitchen, honing skills learned from her mother and grandmothers. A 2004 San Francisco Chronicle story on the Costantino family, "Calabria from Scratch - Foods of Calabria," produced an overwhelming response that inspired her to venture into teaching the cooking of her native land.

"I realized there is a great interest in the foods of our region," Rosetta says, "and that I must share what I was so lucky to have grown up with, so that the dishes and recipes will not be lost."

Calabrian cooking is yet unexplored. The region is off the beaten path and the best foods are found in farmers' homes, not fancy restaurants. "My goal," says Rosetta, "is to introduce dishes that would be served to guests in a home in Southern Italy..." and, it should be added, to the Calabrian ways of turning fresh, simple fare into pure satisfaction.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Practical easy to follow recipes with beautiful pictures and artwork.
Giacomo J. Calabrese
This is not just a cookbook but also a book about the culture of southern Italian region of Calabria.
Ellen
This book is authentic and a gem for any one who enjoys rustic Italian cooking.
Honey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M. Dali on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been searching for a cookbook and travel book with Calabrian roots for so long. Many books are 'Southern Italian' but only delve into the well-known Neopolitan recipies. I am a first-generation Italian-American, whose parents immigrated from Calabria so when I saw these recipes in print I almost cried. Very authentic and fun to see the dialect in there too. The history, stories, recipes and photos are outstanding. Thank you for writing this book. Finalmente! p.s. note to author on the 'Peaches' dessert, you can get Alkermes liquor flavoring in the states, Torre Products in New York carries it. I believe they are in Brooklyn and ship. And if you are reading this wondering if you should buy this book, don't hesitate. I bought a few copies for family to pass on our roots and recipes.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Fabio, Bleeding Espresso on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As some background, I am an American of Calabrian heritage who has been living in my ancestors' village in Calabria since 2003; I received this book for review on my blog, Bleeding Espresso.

*

Rosetta Costantino was born in Calabria and moved to America with her family at age 14. Although they left behind much of what was familiar to them, the Costantino family never lost their culinary traditions -- and now Rosetta shares them with us in My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South.

When paging through My Calabria, you feel like an honorary member of the family at the table as you learn about how Rosetta's father recreated their Calabrian garden in Oakland, California; how various members of the family make the same dish; and also the 11 ingredients every Calabrian pantry should have on hand.

Rosetta also shares information about the historical and cultural influences on Calabrian cuisine and lifestyle, so aside from being a wonderful collection of recipes (150) that includes appetizers through dessert, My Calabria is simply a wonderful resource book on the region -- you're getting so much more than a cookbook here.

The recipes themselves are authentic as they come and easy to follow -- one of the best things about Calabrian cooking is that it's user-friendly as it uses so few ingredients -- and the book is just gorgeous. There are plenty of full-page and other sized color photos throughout, not only of recipes but also of various sights from around Calabria.

From a personal standpoint as someone who has been making Calabrian food ever since I could cook -- first from my grandmother's recipes and now also from my mother-in-law's -- I give this book five very full espresso cups out of five. Rosetta is a wonderful tour guide through this region's food, history, and culture, and I highly recommend My Calabria for anyone who is interested in Calabria, southern Italy, or southern Italian cuisine.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Cherrye Moore on November 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've lived in Calabria since 2006 and was sent a copy of My Calabria to review for my website, My Bella Vita. I wrote a review there, as well as a few other sites, but since people come here to buy the book-and I always read Amazon reviews before making my own purchases-I wanted to write something here, as well.

It is hard to find reliable English-language information on Calabria and I loved that this cookbook was more than just a collection of recipes. Yes, it is chock-full of authentic Calabrian cooking, homemade pasta, sauces, meat, fish, veggie and dessert dishes, but it also has the history of various places in Calabria, bright, vivid photos (of more than just the food) and it is written in an easy, conversational tone that makes for easy reading.

If you are an Italophile or fan of Calabria, you'll enjoy this cookbook.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on December 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A Calabrian native, Costantino begins this big, glossy, colorful book of traditional recipes with a tour of the region and its essential foods, a bit of family history and key ingredients of the Calabrian kitchen. Luscious photos accompany many dishes.

Organization is by course and each recipe includes background, serving suggestions and wine suggestions. Baked Fresh Anchovies with Breadcrumbs, for instance (Tortiera d'Alici) includes directions for cleaning the anchovies (or sardines) and recommends serving this "savory cake" with a salad or vegetable, preceded by pasta with a seafood or vegetable sauce.

Costantino includes a whole chapter of home-preserved pantry items, from sun-dried zucchini or sweet red peppers to various oil-cured vegetables and fish to home-made paprika and candied orange peel.

There are recipes for fresh homemade ricotta, rennet and pasta, fennel sausage, bread starter, pizza doughs and Calabrian Rusks. There's Chicken Soup with Ricotta Dumplings, Ribbon Pasta with Chickpeas, Risotto with Fresh Mussels, Pork Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Potatoes Layered with Artichokes and Breadcrumbs, Sweet Christmas Ravioli with Chestnut and Chocolate Filling.

This is the real thing, mouth-wateringly authentic, with a proud joy in the time-honored, leisurely work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sugarsweet1974 on November 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having travelled to Italy a few times taking cooking classes and experiencing authentic Italian Food, I am often disappointed when I look through/buy Italian cookbooks because the recipes are so "Americano"...This cookbook is anything but and I consider it one of the best cookbooks I have ever purchased. In this book, you are getting the true deal-the author emigrated from Italy to America when she was 14, and she and her family have made a little Italy in their California homes-canning, preserving and growing large gardens that are so common in Calabria (the pictures are in the book and are just delightful!) The author also gives history and insight into the Italian and Calabrian culture, and many of her recipes I recognise from my time in Calabria earlier this year, when I spent time with an Italian family learning the recipes of the region.
There are many many recipes-from preserving, appetizers, primi, secondi, contorni and dolce. Many of them contain just a few ingredients that are not difficult to find at your local grocery store or supermarket and are very easy to make!
And that is the beauty of Italian food-simple and delicious-not the cheesey, greasy and meatball laden sauces that somehow take over most Italian menus! If you are looking for an AUTHENTIC Italian cookbook, this is it. On a side note, the author conducts cooking classes in California and I am seriously thinking of making a trip to partake!
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