- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Kyle Books (November 16, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906868271
- ISBN-13: 978-1906868277
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 10.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort Your Soul Hardcover – November 16, 2010
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There remains a central difference between home cooking--comfort food--and professional cooking, notes dellaCroce (The Classic Italian Cookbook). Cucina casalinga is casual and relaxed, designed to sustain the body and uplift the spirit. The James Beard-award winner puts her money where her mouth is with a lively focus on the sustaining, casual, even homely appetizers, pastas, entrees, and desserts discovered during her time in Italy or handed down from her Italian antecedents. Christopher Hirsheimer's sensuous photography makes recipes as diverse as Carrot and Fennel Soup and Angry Lobsters pop off the page. Wide-ranging enough to be comprehensive yet focused enough to be selective, dellaCroce organizes her effort into 10 chapters, ranging from Welcoming Dishes, like Sage Leaves and Zucchini Blossoms or her Pissaladella pizza-like flatbread, to For the Love of Vegetables, such as Potatoes Schiscionera from Sardinia, to the especially notable Baby's First Food, making it a great choice for parents. dellaCroce often brings family lore into the mix, reminding readers that her knowledge comes from the source: Italians cooking authentic Italian food. Her latest is a keeper. Photos. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly )
From the Publisher
Spaghetti with Sauteed Radicchio
Serves 2 to 4
I corresponded with Paolo Lanapoppi, a Venetian writer and gondola restorer, for some time before I finally tracked him down in Venice. When we finally met, the radicchio of nearby Treviso was in full flower, and he cooked up this delightful homespun dish for lunch over talk of carnevale and gondolas. Paolo topped the pasta generously with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table, but it is equally delicious without the cheese.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced and then chopped
8 to 10 ounces radicchio, preferably the elongated Tardivo variety, cut into julienne and then roughly chopped
½ cup hot water
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¾ pound imported Italian spaghetti
2 tablespoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving
1. In an ample skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until nicely softened and lightly colored, about 6 minutes. Toss in the radicchio, and use a wooden spoon to coat it evenly in the olive oil. Add the water, continuing to toss. Cover and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the radicchio is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sea salt, cover, and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot filled with water over high heat to a rolling boil. Stir in the pasta and kosher salt. Cook, always over the highest heat possible and stirring constantly to prevent the pasta strands from sticking together, until the spaghetti is almost cooked, about 6 minutes. Add a glass of cold water to the pot to arrest the boiling and drain immediately, setting aside about 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the spaghetti to the skillet, and return the heat to high. Use 2 long forks to distribute all the ingredients evenly, about 1 minute. If necessary, add a little of the pasta water to moisten so that everything mixes nicely together. Serve immediately with plenty of pepper and pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.
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Top customer reviews
I feel the number of 5-star reviews here are a little strange given the actual content of the book, and potential buyers should be forewarned they may not agree. There's an all-too-common pattern of people giving hysterically-fawning reviews of these celebrity chef cookbooks, which high ratings induce people to buy a book that they may not find all that wonderful and useful after all. For another thing, the raves over all the wonderful pictures are definitely out of place, and are *not* any reason to buy this book, despite reviewer claims to the contrary. As a former professional photographer, I can guarantee you they are definitely mediocre, with uninspired and amateurish lighting and composition, and are certainly not any reason to buy this book.
And oh, now I can't wait for the Usual Suspects, the cookbook groupies to crawl out of the woodwork and attack me personally just because I don't share their opinions of this book's wonderfulness. How dare I Think Different and have differing tastes and needs for a cookbook than they do! Happens all the time, the more famous the celebrity chef, the more they want to hitch their wagons to that person, and attack anyone who criticizes the object of their fandom! It's a form of political correctness applied to practitioners of modernist cuisine, especially. As Trump would say, "very sad!"
Every time I cook from this book I feel this satisfaction and a great desire to thank Ms. Della Croce. The recipes are so fantastic and so simple. I could not believe how good they turn out!
My only addition to some (well, many) recipes is the heat: one or two serranos. I like to make many recipes "angry," like her angry chicken or lobster. We love them this way. Our friends that were lucky to taste these recipes have bought this cookbook as well.
On a sad note, this book was printed in China. It was probably proofread in China. There are some mistakes, like absent references (you see XX instead of a page number). But they don't matter. I wish the book was not printed in China. Print it in Italy! They have printing presses, don't they?
Here are some of my adjustments to the recipes:
Carrots on p.164 (I am cooking them right now along with the oven-fried chicken): do not add water. It will not evaporate from a closed skillet in 30 min. And add vinegar after carrots caramelized. Otherwise your carrots won't look like the carrots in the photo.
Polenta meat cake (p. 104, made it yesterday): Triple the meat and double the cheese (there is just not enough for a recipe of polenta.) Cook polenta in a pressure cooker (Fissler!) for 15 min. Place half of polenta into an oiled baking dish and the second half onto a counter (or a smooth cutting board). Keep the baking dish and the cutting board side by side to make rectangles of polenta equal in size.
Nevertheless, there is always something from this book on our dining table: one, two, even three dishes at once. I LOVE these recipes!
Thank you, Thank you, Ms. Della Croce!!!!! You brought so much peace to my mind and comfort to our stomachs! Thanks to the House Beautiful for publishing oven-fried chicken with bread crumbs recipe (add a serrano). This recipe is so delicious! That is how I was introduced to this cookbook.
My next goal is to adapt some of the recipes for pressure cooking. You can make fantastic meals in a pressure cooker faster! Enjoy!
If you can buy this book together with "Cooking with Italian Grandmothers" by Jessica Theroux.