From Publishers Weekly
Tramonto, a partner in five Chicago restaurants, and author of Fantastico!
, Amuse Bouche
, returns to the food of his childhood in this homage to the osterias so common in Italy. Osterias, or taverns, offer simple and straightforward dishes designed to accompany the wine. Tramonto and coauthor Goodbody stay true to this tradition, including wine recommendations for most recipes. In addition to the usual categories, the authors include sections on breakfast, sandwiches, pizza, cheese, and side dishes. Recipes are hearty and by no means simplistic. Panettone French Toast and Sicilian Tuna Sandwiches whet the appetite, while Asparagus with Fried Egg Salad and Pecorino, and Roast Chicken Piccata-Style offer new twists to everyday ingredients. Sidebars on salmon, aged balsamic vinegar and how to cook pasta highlight ingredients and techniques to aid in the kitchen and help the cook make better purchasing decisions. A handsome and lavishly photographed collection, this will appeal to Tramonto fans and earn him an even larger following. (Oct.)
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Tramonto has established his credentials as a celebrity chef, and his innovative, high-end cuisine has earned national kudos. Now he has turned his attention away from haute cuisine to the simple, homey delights of an Italian trattoria. Americans’ tastes in Italian food have grown much more sophisticated and demanding, and Tramonto addresses just such an audience. His version of fried calamari features extracrunchy cornmeal and semolina coating. Vegetarians will revel in the many vegetable dishes including asparagus, red beets, squash, and zucchini. Plenty of mascarpone enriches creamed chard. Tramonto clearly favors long-braised meats, from veal cheeks to both lamb and pork shanks, all fragrant with herbs. Although Italians favor simple breakfasts, Tramonto concocts some complex egg dishes that could star at any brunch. Tramonto appreciates the savor of real Parmigiano-Reggiano, but instead of grating it over his creations, he prefers shards of it shaved onto the top. --Mark Knoblauch