From Publishers Weekly
Casella, chef and owner of the Manhattan restaurant Beppe, admits up front that he has included dishes from other regions of Italy besides Tuscany in his cookbook, such as Sicily. His logic? "[P]utting my spin on it makes it Tuscan for me, because I'm Tuscan." That faulty reasoning is made even more glaring by Casella's complaint that the adjective Tuscan has been bastardized by its application to "kitchen design, olive oil, even classical music." That said, Casella's food—wherever it comes from—is quite delicious, and consists mainly of terrific rustic choices, like Potato and Egg Frittata, with its chunks of pancetta; and Tuscan Fried Chicken served with fried herbs. Casella writes like a restaurant chef, for better and for worse. On one hand, he generously shares recipes for some of the highlights on Beppe's menu, such as homemade pinci
pasta in walnut and anchovy sauce, and Tuscan spareribs. On the other hand, he blithely calls for hard-to-find ingredients like pork liver, and while his Basic Pasta Dough recipe yields 1 3/4 pounds of dough, the three ravioli recipes that follow each call for 1 1/2 pounds of dough, with no suggestions as to what to do with the extra.
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About the Author
Cesare Casella is the chef and owner of Beppe and Maremma, celebrated Manhattan restaurants that specialize in Tuscan cuisine. The author of Diary of a Tuscan Chef and Italian Cooking for Dummies, he has been featured in print in Gourmet, Food and Wine, and the New York Times. He has appeared on Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network and Martha Stewart Living.