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Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian: Big Flavors, Small Plates Hardcover – September 25, 2012
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New Jersey Monthly, October 2012
An NPR.org “Year End Cookbook List” Honorable Mention
Named to the Bay Area Publications/ McClatchy News Wire “Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies”
About the Author
For the past 15 years, he has worked for some of the world’s most renowned chefs and cooked to critical acclaim at restaurants all over the country. Before opening Graffiato, Chef Isabella was the executive chef of José Andrés’ Zaytinya. During his three-year tenure, Chef Isabella generated accolades and national attention for Washington, D.C.’s Mediterranean powerhouse restaurant. Chef Isabella’s formal training began at The Restaurant School in New York. He has worked as a sous chef for James Beard Award winner Douglas Rodriguez at Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia and as Executive Sous Chef of Marcus Samuelsson’s Washington Square.
Outside the kitchen, Chef Isabella recently appeared on Season Six of Top Chef (Las Vegas), and he was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars.
Top Customer Reviews
Isabella has a cookbook out, Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian, which celebrates his Italian heritage and has lots of wonderful memories of his grandmother, who gave Mike his love of cooking. What I like about this book is that many of the recipes are for small plates, which I enjoy. Some of the small plate recipes I want to try include:
Deviled Eggs with Bacon
Baked Ricotta with Scallion, Speck and Saba (which sounds fancy, but looks fairly easy. Speck is a cured ham and saba is a thick concentrated syrup made from sweetened grape juice. I did not know that.)
Crispy Mushrooms with Sweet and Sour Apricot Sauce
Isabella is Italian and Greek, and there are many recipes he has created that combine those two heritages, which he has in a chapter titled Family Secrets. Some of those recipes are:
Aunt Connie's Pepper Rings
Grandma Antoinette's & Mike's Favorite Gravy, which has a pig's foot as its special ingredient
Meatballs, made with mortadella and mint
There are lots of authentic Italian recipes here for serious cooks, ones that use ingredients such as octopus, calamari and squid. When I visited Rome this past February, there were many dishes with those ingredients and reading Isabella's book brought me right back there.Read more ›
LOVE LOVE LOVE it and I'm not afraid to try more!
There are so many more tempting recipes to delve into, but what I really adore about this book is that there's an entire chapter dedicated to squid, cuttlefish, and octopus (Tentacles: My Greek Side)! I know Isabella is part Greek but it's still rare (and rather deliciously daring) to have a full chapter on these little beasties in a cookbook that is not specifically seafood oriented. Bravo, Isabella and Blymire -- this is a workhorse cookbook and thank you for giving me my appetite back.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Only found like 2 or 3 recipes that I might try. Didn't really care for this. Ended up reselling item.Published 18 months ago by Linda D. Gentile
I like a few of the recipes that Mike puts in his book but I hoped for more. I really liked him on Top Chef and thought he was pretty talented.Published on December 14, 2013 by susans
The book needed more substance to it. For example, info on wines, best tools for making homemade pasta etc. Thanks.Published on June 22, 2013 by Janice Hans
This cookbook is so interesting. I saw Mike Isabella on one of my cooking shows and just had to order the cookbook. I loved it so much that I got a copy for my sister.Published on June 5, 2013 by Karen Wear