Most helpful positive review
101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent book which will be appreciated both by both expert and novice chefs
on September 29, 2011
I'm extremely impressed with the book. First, I live in LA and am a huge fan of both Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, so I already know I like most of the recipes. Second, I appreciate the fact that these recipes are truly different (sometimes in subtle ways) than the 'standard' versions of the dishes presented. Example: the meatballs. Mozza has wonderful meatballs, and you could spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is special about them. It turns out that the answer is quite simple: they contain no beef, but they do contain ground pancetta, so the meats are veal, pork, and pancetta. This may not sound like a big difference, but I strongly recommend trying the recipe and promise that you will have a hard time going back to regular meatballs. Third, I like the intellectual honesty of the book. Example: the Torta Della Nonna contains three cheeses, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Coach Farms Goat Cheese, and mascarpone. This is a very non-traditional combination, but most important, it is exactly the kind of thing done in a restaurant kitchen (ie combining commodity cheese like Philadelphia with high end Goat Cheese) that most of the time no one would admit to in a book. How many times have I bought a restaurant cookbook where it is glaringly obvious the recipes bear no resemblance to what is actually done in the restaurant? Not so with this one. The exceptions, where they exist, are well specified. Fourth, these are simple recipes that pretty much anyone with a moderate level of cooking experience could make (possibly with some artistic license, for example not making the pasta by hand as it's recommended), but ones that have enough twists and changes in them that an experienced chef is sure to learn some exciting new flavor combinations. Fifth, the details behind each recipe are there for people who want them. Example: one of my favorite Osteria Mozza dishes is the orecchiette with rapini and fennel sausage. Most books would just call for 'fennel sausage' in the ingredients when in fact the specific fennel sausage is really key to the dish (and it's an excellent one). In this book, the actual fennel sausage recipe is there -- of course it's up to you whether or not you want to go to the trouble of making it. Bottom line - I have a huge cookbook collection. While I enjoy thumbing through most of them, this is one of the few that I will actually make a lot of stuff from on a regular basis. Highly recommended, especially for those who can't drive a few miles to eat at the restaurants in person.