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Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159691470X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914704
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In one of the more creative yet accessible Italian cookbooks to come along, Carmellini (formerly chef of A Voce in New York City) presents spectacular recipes while opening a window onto his life with food, from his Italian-American boyhood and cooking school to revelations while traveling in Italy and being a top New York chef. An extensive personal introduction as well as ample side notes and recipe introductions offer extra insight into his approach to food. The recipes, which come from all over Italy and mix regional Italian and American influences, are arranged classically, from antipasti to dolci. Many seem typical Italian fare, yet Carmellini gives them an idiosyncratic touch that heightens flavors and makes them work for the modern cook, whether that means an intriguing beet and grapefruit salad or meatballs with cherries. Some recipes are simple but time-consuming, as he candidly admits, yet he walks through the steps so patiently that a determined cook at almost any skill level will manage. Carmellini shows why he is considered one of the country's best young chefs, and a natural teacher. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
 
"Creative yet accessible. Carmellini presents spectacular recipes while opening a window onto his life with food, from his Italian-American boyhood and cooking school to revelations while traveling in Italy and being a top New York chef. Carmellini gives [the recipes] an idiosyncratic touch that heightens flavors and makes them work for the modern cook at any skill level. Carmellini shows why he is considered one of the country's best young chefs, and a natural teacher."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Andrew Carmellini’s Urban Italian is that rare breed of cookbook: written by a skilled, top-tier professional, yet at all times accessible, unintimidating, and inspiring to the home cook. In short, it’s everything a cookbook should be. The conversational style provides both a thrilling introduction and the feeling, while cooking, that the chef is standing next to in the kitchen, forgiving your mistakes, urging you along, painlessly expanding your reservoir of knowledge. In a world awash with Italian cookbooks, this one's a must-have.”—Anthony Bourdain

“Andrew Carmellini is an enormously talented chef who brings a distinctive style and voice to his restaurant. Urban Italian captures  that style and voice for the home cook with intriguing recipes—and also with great stories about the cook’s life, written with a candor and bravado not typically found in chefs’ cookbooks. A terrific book.”—Michael Ruhlman

"Andrew’s passion for Italy is contagious. Urban Italian is entertaining, informative, and witty." —Eric Ripert

“This would be a great book if it did nothing more than faithfully capture between covers the great food served at A Voce. But, marvel of marvels, the modest-but-confident chef I've admired for so long for his cooking can also write his ass off. Urban Italian is every bit as intimate, profane, soulful, and amusing as Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. To paraphrase Andrew himself on the subject of cooking, this book engages your senses, takes your mind off your day-to-day problems, and makes both the reader and (I'm pretty sure) the writer happy.” —Sara Moulton

“Like many Italian American chefs, myself included, Andrew had to go through France to get to Italy. Urban Italian takes the reader on that journey. Fabulous recipes, of course, but just as important are the stories that informed the heart and soul of this great chef.” —Tom Colicchio


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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The recipes are easy to follow and they're all delicious.
Tyler Wilkins
Most of the recipes are beautifully illustrated with step by step instructions.
Book Addict
Cannot wait to give to my friends who love to cook for Christmas!!!
007

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By G. Bertolini on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just received my copy of Urban Italian and I couldn't wait to get started. I love the fact that there are lots of glossy photos to show me what I have to look forward to. The recipes are very easy to follow, with step by step directions, and the ingredients used are readily available (even in my small town). My first dish was the Short Ribs Braciole, the meat was so tender and flavorful, I thought I'd have enough for leftovers-no such luck. The "Crumbs Yo" are a very nice touch, they accented the dish with some crunch and additional flavor. Because the "Crumbs Yo" are so versatile (seasoning them with different herbs and or zest), I plan on using them in many other dishes.
I must admit when the book first arrived I couldn't put it down, the introduction was full of very amusing cooking tales experienced by the author. Now that I've read through the recipes, and made some myself, this will be my go to Italian cookbook.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Book Addict VINE VOICE on November 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is not in any way related to any other Italian cookbook you have on your shelves. This is a romance depicting Andrew Carmellini's love affair with food. This is the type of book that you will want to sit down with a glass of wine and some cheese and olives and just savour from cover to cover. As Carmellini says in his opening paragraph, "...a good cook brings his or her life to the table, and sucks as much experience as possible from the world to do it." The author takes you by the hand to tell you his story and is candid with both his successes and his failures. (Argh...the rack of lamb!)

Before you can dive into the recipe section, Carmellini advises:
~ Do not stress out
~ Don't be afraid to taste, touch, smell, feel and make a mess
~ Measure but don't be a slave
~ Don't be afraid to adjust to taste...but don't leave out the salt or the fat
~ Time things but be a time-tester
~ Work with what you've got ...but when it comes to dessert, follow the rules
~ Plan ahead

See? Simple good cooking. Most of the recipes are beautifully illustrated with step by step instructions. From the Marinated Beets with Grapefruit, Pistachios, and Goatcheese salad to the (I admiit it...I skipped to the dessert section) Perfect Panna Cotta with Raspberry Compote.

I plan to give this book to my favorite cookbook aficionado and hope to be invited to dinner...often! So much for the New Year's diet resolution! Oh, well.
~
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By 007 on November 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I rec'd my copy the other day! WOW! This is the first time I have ever sat down and actually read an entire cookbook in one night! I have made the Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Rad. and my husband LOVED IT. I will make the Black Bass with Sicilian Style Pesto (with Halibut) and I am so excited! I just order all my ingredients from AmazonFresh except for the fish - it doesn't get any easier than that! ;)
Cannot wait to give to my friends who love to cook for Christmas!!!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Rudy VINE VOICE on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Andrew Carmellini serves the readers with an Italian cookbook that can help you create gourmet meals in little time.

The book offers a rambling opening sprinkled with funny or horrific anecdotes, that all depend on your perspective of the situation. Carmellini shares one of the horror stories where he was faced with preparing 500 meals for models. Who wouldn't like the traditional Italian dish of escargot with polenta? 495 members of the fashion industry who view it as fattening and disgusting, that's who... The reader learns many lessons such as this most important lesson of knowing your guests before you prepare your meals in the book's introduction.

For amateur cooks, the recipes are relatively simple, but a few do require specialized tools like a pastry bag that may not be found in all kitchens. Most recipes can be prepared in under an hour, but a few require overnight preparation. The ingredient lists also range from what can be found in the neighborhood grocery store to those that require visits to the gourmet store. In other words, novices and gourmets alike will find appetizers, entrees, and desserts to prepare and enjoy.

WARNING: As something you wouldn't normally find in a cookbook, Carmellini's introduction does contain profanity (specifically the f-bomb).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen San Martino TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a cookbook!!!!! I have never read a recipe book in such detail. The stories the author tells are extremely amusing, very lively and enjoyable. The finished recipes titillate the palate with such wonderful flavors.

Although stated otherwise on the book jacket, I feel the recipes take quite a bit of preparation. They may be simple in the sense that they have few ingredients, but the preparation takes time. Also, some of the ingredients are so rare or hard to find that it was almost impossible to make them without some form of substitution and I live in a pretty urban area. My local supermarket that has both extensive international and organic aisles did not have some of the ingredients. In some cases, substitutes are suggested but in others they are not. For instance, I could not find farro anywhere locally; although Amazon does sell it.

This cookbook is definitely five stars but I had to lower my rating to four stars because an attempt is not made to explain some of the ingredients and finding them is so difficult. For the seasoned cook who lives in or near New York City or Los Angeles or the person who does not mind ordering ingredients online, then this will be an invaluable recipe book. Delizioso (delicious) ...
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