Since the 1982 opening of his L.A. restaurant Spago, Wolfgang Puck has become a household name. Several restaurants, TV appearances, and cookbooks later, Puck has put together Wolfgang Puck's Pizza, Pasta, and More
, a collection of his favorite and most popular recipes. "Eating with family and friends is like having a little party," says Puck. "It is pure pleasure, a relaxing and fun experience. Casual and easy to prepare, these are dishes everyone can make and enjoy."
Puck starts with the basics--stocks, sauces, dressings, and condiments. With chicken or vegetable stock fresh made or stored in your freezer, you have the base for Hazelnut Brown Butter and Herb Sauce (toss with wild-mushroom ravioli and dust with Parmesan) or Tomato Garlic Basil Sauce (good for pasta or pizza). The salads range from a classic Caesar with Homemade Tapenade Croutons to a Grilled Ahi Tuna Niçoise Salad to a colorful stacked Roasted Beet Napoleon. Thin-crust wood-oven pizzas are Puck's signature and he does not disappoint. The Herbed Artichoke Pizza is studded with sautéed artichoke bottoms, niçoise olives, and caramelized onions and the Tangy Chicken Pizza features peppers, eggplant, and chicken marinated in olive oil, lime, jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro. Try the brunch pizza with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a leisurely Sunday.
The pastas are equally as enticing. Puck suggests making your own and includes his fail-safe recipe. Particularly temping are Angel Hair with Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Shaved Parmesan Cheese, Crispy Calamari with Chinese Noodles and Spicy Garlic Sauce, and Gnocchi with Braised Veal Shank.
Besides alluring photos of many of the dishes, pictures of Puck and his staff preparing for the 2000 Academy Awards post-party are included (FYI: Haley Joel Osment's favorite pizza is Pepperoni and Mushroom). --Dana Van Nest
From Publishers Weekly
Entrepreneurial chef Puck (Adventures in the Kitchen) presents a lively and inspired collection of popular recipes guaranteed to leave his many devotees sated. Puck, whose vast empire includes the acclaimed Spago restaurants, lets readers in on the secrets behind his justifiably revered pizzas as well as other inviting dishes that he says are easy enough for anyone to prepare. If he perchance exaggerates the simplicity of some recipes, there are plenty of others that cry out to be replicated in the home kitchen. His signature Caesar Chicken Pizza (from his restaurant at the Forum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas) is a study in contrasts: tangy saut?ed chicken, oven-dried tomatoes and cheeses topped by a reinterpreted Caesar's Salad. Spinach, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Pizza combines flavors fearlessly. A delectably effortless Black and Green Olive Tapenade includes oven-dried tomatoes, fresh thyme and oregano. Although it's no longer on the menu, Puck brings back a simple customer favorite in Angel Hair with Goat Cheese, Broccoli and Toasted Pine Nuts. Less intrepid cooks may bypass Roasted Squab on Pan-Fried Noodles with Spicy Mushroom Sauce after they read that the bird (except for the legs) should be butterflied and boned. But then there is Chicken Bolognese, which takes under an hour to prepare and can be done in advance. Recipes for pizza and pasta are popular enough, but Puck's appearances on Good Morning America and the Home Shopping Network will certainly get viewers' attention. 5-city author tour. (Nov.)
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