I have to say this is the first formal review I have ever done for a Cookbook! I selected this for review specifically because of it’s Tuscan Italian recipes. This is co-written by actress Debi Masr and husband Gabriele Corcos; not exactly Italian sounding names but don’t let that fool you! Within four hours I ravaged this book from cover to cover. This book is heavy in a few ways. First- the book is bound beautifully. The quality of the paper is heaven to the touch. What I love most is that when you open to a recipe even in the middle of the book, it lays flat. There is nothing so frustrating than trying to follow a recipe and having to stretch the binding! The illustrations are beautiful and reflect how sometimes a few simple ingredients can yield beautiful food. I hesitate to even refer to this as a “cookbook” to be honest. From the first page, the reader is brought into the early lives of Debi and Gabriele; their associations and memories of cooking with their Italian Nonna’s. Their stories resonated with me especially when they mention making fresh pasta and hanging it over chairs to dry (I did this with my Nonno), picking the vegetables for meals from backyard gardens and traveling to the local butcher for your meats. What follows is a brief section on “The Essentials of a Tuscan Kitchen”. Then come some recipes, more narrative and then even more glorious recipes. This book has twelve sections: Appetizers, Pasta & Sauces, Risotto, Soups, Salads, Meats, Fish, Vegetables, Pizza, Panini, Desserts and Drinks so there is something for everyone.
One of the early comments made by Gabriele reads “It’s interesting how often making food for someone else may seem routine on the surface, but inside you teem with deeper emotions connected to caring for others.” How true. Italians cook from their heart as well as their gardens. In fairness and in keeping with the purpose of a book review to not only mention the great things, my only disappointment is that not all recipes had an illustration. I am a visual cook, so I really “depend” on that. However, I am sure the author/publisher made this decision based on the extra pages and the weight it would have added to the book. It is not light! I can just search the web for an image of the dish 🙂
All in all this book provides inspiration and confidence. Tonight I decided to make Salsiccie e Fagioli (Sausage and Beans). Completed in about 20 minutes! Tomorrow? Who knows, maybe something off the Dolci (Dessert) menu! If you choose to purchase one Cookbook this year, consider this one, it is a treasure! Mangia!
DEBI MAZAR and GABRIELE CORCOS are ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. In Extra Virgin,
food, family, and style come together in a celebration of the pleasures of the rustic Italian table with 120 recipes for simple yet exquisite meals that are accessible, full of fresh flavor, and easy to prepare. Gabriele is a traditional Italian with a big heart, and Debi is an outgoing, brash New York City girl. Their sassy and playful exchanges illuminate what’s important in everyday life: good food and a lot of love.
Ranging from traditional antipasti and soups to their spin on entrees, pizzas, and desserts, recipes include Pecorino and Honey Dip, a sweet and salty way to start a meal; tangy, luscious Grilled Apricots with Goat Cheese Ricotta, inspired by wild Tuscan apricot trees; and Sausage and Beans, which offers hints of fennel in a Tuscan red sauce. Here, too, are Braised Artichokes softened in guanciale-infused oil, Breakfast Pizza, and Coffee Granita just as Italians make it.
So flag these recipes, get sauce on them, let splashes of olive oil mark the pages—and invite Debi and Gabriele’s charisma and passion for cooking to spill into your kitchen.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized
. Bookmark the permalink