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Sicilian Home Cooking: Family Recipes from Gangivecchio Hardcover – April 24, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene run a restaurant in Gangivecchio, their 600-year-old family home in Sicily. This is their second cookbook, and it focuses on home cooking, Sicilian style. Italians are well known for their generous hospitality, and the Tornabene women are great ambassadors. Through dozens of personal stories, some funny, some sad, they invite you into their home to sit at their kitchen table while they reminisce, gossip, educate, and feed you some of the most enjoyable comfort food and conversation you've ever experienced.

Wanda was born in Palermo but has lived in Sicily for more than 50 years. She learned to cook from her mother-in-law and passed those lessons down to her daughter. She admits that she was reluctant to share her secret family recipes, but has found great joy and pleasure in doing so. The conversation in the Tornabene home wanders from nutty old Aunt Elvira who collected bus-ticket stubs and used matches to Eggs Poached in Fresh Tomato Sauce. Granny Elena's Bean and Pasta Soup warms the soul, and the naughty escapades of Ciccio, one of Gangivecchio's dogs, will make you laugh. Aromatic Risotto with Gorgonzola and Fennel may be dinner the night you read about Felice, the little lamb who was allowed into bed after he was bathed, but Wanda's Veal Cutlets served with a flavorful sauce made with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and a dash of cayenne will still make your mouth water. Stories of parties with family and friends entice you to make Sicilian-style pizzas topped with four cheeses, zucchini, and thyme or potatoes, sausage, and rosemary, or maybe you'll treat the crowd to "Midnight Spaghetti" variations like Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, and Hot Pepper or Ruote with Radicchio and Gorgonzola. Sicilian sweets like Ricotta Tart with Nuts and drinks like Strawberry Liqueur round out the menu and ensure that you'll be back to visit with the Tornabene women of Gangivecchio again and again. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

With this long-awaited follow-up to their James Beard Award-winning La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio, the mother-and-daughter team triumphantly continues to re-create the hearty, rustic home cuisine served at their restaurant in a 13th-century abbey in the Sicilian mountains. As before, the fare is ravishingly seductive, and much of it enticingly simple. A host of antipasti includes Hot Eggplant Sandwiches and Lettuce Tart made with a dough enriched with eggs and a bit of vanilla. Although they rarely serve egg dishes in their restaurant, the Tornabenes aver that no Sicilian home cook could do without Eggs Poached in Fresh Tomato Sauce, and Pizza with Potatoes, Sausage and Rosemary or one of its many relations is a standard Sunday night treat for mother and daughter. They celebrate pasta with such creations as Paolo's Pennette with Fresh Figs and Pancetta. For more substantial courses, the Tornabenes bring forth Sicilian Oven-Braised Veal Shanks, Chicken Souffl‚ and Gangivecchio's Shrimp en Croute. Vegetable side dishes range from Fried Stuffed Cardoons to the fragrant Baked Potatoes with Bay Leaves, and to conclude are the waist-threatening Almond Parfait and Chocolate and Cheese Tart with Cinnamon, which can be enjoyed with one of their homemade dessert wines. (May 1)Forecast: With the strength of the authors' first book and a seven-city nationwide tour, this work's basic yet lovely fare will make it a credible contender among the crowded shelves of Italian cookbooks.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037540399X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375403996
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Sophie on September 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There are great vegetable "recipes" (really no more than a few lines)using mint, anchovy, etc. that will give you a flair for Sicilian cooking: asparagus, potato and mushroom cake, cauliflower pizza, fennel and artichoke salad, cucumber and caper salad, white bean salad. The pasta recipes are also nice, slightly different takes on what most people have already had: fettucine carbonara with vegetables, lemon spaghtetti, ruote with radicchio and gorgonzola, fettucine with yellow peppers, and about a dozen more. I think the appetizers are the best part: sicilian sweet and sour meatballs(don't think pink), bruschetta with swordfish and mint, caponata, artichoke tart with sardines and ricotta (I think its similar to the american artichoke and mayonaisse recipe going around), olive marinades, gorgonzola and pear tart. Good book, but yes, you need to have some experience in the kitchen to know when they've left some steps out. For instance the preparation of artichokes requires baby artichokes. Some dishes are very heavy, like baked eggs with bechamel sauce. You have to know what will be appropriate to serve as an appetizer, etc. Chicken's probably easiest prepared by using bone-in, skin-on pieces rather than cutting up a whole chicken. But there's a lot of inspiration and a lot to learn from these women. I definitely think it's worth buying if you know your way around a kitchen, regardless of what cuisine you're most familiar with.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Kate McMurry TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The authors, Wanda Tornabene and her daughter, Giovanna Tornabene, are co-owners of Gangivecchio, a restaurant housed in a thirteenth-century abbey in Sicily's Madonie Mountains. In addition to providing scrumptious, authentic Sicilian recipes, this cookbook is great fun to read, because these two world-class chefs also offer many funny stories of their colorful relatives, friends and pets.
Their detailed table of contents, thorough index, and menu plans guide you easily through the book, and the recipes are divided into these convenient sections: appetizers, soups, egg dishes, pizza and focaccia, pasta, couscous, rice, meat main-course dishes, fish and seafood main-course dishes, vegetables, salads, desserts, wines and liqueurs.
I, personally, am on a high-protein diet, and one might wonder what someone like me could possibly get from a cookbook whose recipes all hail from the land of pasta. Actually, quite a lot. The vegetable, meat and seafood dishes are delicious, low-carb, and not horribly time consuming to make. And it is crucial on a special diet to, as much as possible, find things that taste good to eat our you won't stay on it. All of these recipes are packed with flavor. Here are some examples of my personal favorites from the vegetable-dishes section: Syracuse-Style Peppers (olive oil, salt, mint leaves, garlic, and vinegar for seasoning), Country-Style Eggplant (olive oil, vinegar, oregano, mint, and hot pepper flakes for seasoning), Gangi-Style Artichokes (onions, green olives, capers, celery hearts, vinegar, and pepper for seasoning).
In addition, even those of us on a high-protein diet can occasionally have bread. And, as for me, if I am going to indulge, I much prefer to eat really great bread, such as the terrific focaccia in this cookbook.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anna on November 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book, but honestly, not for the recipes. I enjoyed reading short notes from the Sicilian authors. It was almost like living another life for me: to have a mountain farm in Italy, to grow a citrus garden, to store pasta in an antique cupboard... These stories take a smaller part of the book - I wish there were more.

As for the recipes, I tried to cook only the classical Sicilian pizza, and loved it.

I wish the book had photos of every dish - it is much easier to cook or to crave something when you have an idea what it looks like.
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By Tom Madison on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lots of interesting personal stories from behind the scenes, but there's nothing unexpected or surprising from the traditional recipes themselves.
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By Raymond J. DeRaymond on March 20, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Too similar to their first book, "La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio".
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