The best Italian food is prepared and enjoyed at home. Understanding this and the profound connection between food and Italian family life, Joan Tropiano Tucci (mother of Stanley Tucci, producer and star of the food-movie hit Big Night
) and chef Gianni Scappin (who coached Stanley in food-making for the film) have created Cucina & Famiglia
, a celebration of multigenerational Italian home cooking. With food writer Mimi Shanley Taft, they present 200 accessible recipes for every course of an Italian meal, while providing glimpses of the family life from which they and the dishes sprang. Cooks wanting a solid repertoire of at-home Italian dishes and anyone interested in Italian food culture will welcome the book.
Beginning with photo-illustrated portraits of the Topiano, Tucci, and Scappin families, the authors present the dishes they grew up on and still make today. Outstanding versions of familiar dishes like Bruschetta with Tomato, Fried Zucchini Fritters, Chicken Cacciatore, and Ricotta Cake are offered with "finds" such as Lasagna Made with Polenta and Gorgonzola Cheese; Farfalle with Artichokes, Potatoes, and Prosciutto; Shellfish and Bean Casserole; and the film-featured Timpano Alla Big Night, a drum of ziti, salami, provolone, meatballs, and more. Each recipe is introduced by the author to whom it "belongs," and these notes are telling. (For example, Scappin writes of Angela's Pear Cake, "My Aunt Angela was like a second mother to me, and every afternoon she baked a different cake."). To savor such a past, as well as the food that accompanied it, Cucina & Famiglia is indispensable. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Combing the flavors of the South and North, Tropiano Tucci blends her spicy Calabrian dishes with Scappin's flavors from the Veneto. And in an added surprise, Tropiano Tucci reveals the authentic, previously secret family recipe for the Timp no, made famous in son Stanley Tucci's 1996 film Big Night. The dishAa thin sheet of dough shaped like a drum and layered with salami, provolone, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, pasta and moreAsatisfies expectations; it's rich, extravagant and challenging. The book is layered throughout with stories of preparing food for and making the film (when director Tucci met Le Madri chef Scappin, who is now on the faculty of the Culinary Institute of New York) and with anecdotes from the extended Tucci and Scappin families. The recipes all give proof of what Stanley Tucci calls "our [Italian] obsession with food." Many recipes (Caponata, Stuffed Peppers, Simple Chicken Breast with Sage and Cream-filled Cannoli) are traditional, but there are many personalized dishes as well, like Fried Pasta, Tucci Family Focaccia and, from Scappin's sister, Livia's Tiramis?. Full flavors abound in such meals as Braised Italian-Style Pot Roast (made in the oven with red wine, porcini mushrooms and the usual aromatics); Buckwheat Noodles with Swiss Chard, Potatoes, Cabbage, Fontina and Sage; and Chicken Rolled and Stuffed with Smoked Mozzarella, Spinach and Prosciutto. This is an appealingly collegial addition to the groaning shelves of Italian cookbooks. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.