Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Italian
Published: November 17, 2004
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Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito is best known for his short-lived reality TV show The Restaurant, which chronicled the start-up (and disintegration) of DiSpirito's Manhattan dining spot, Rocco's 22nd Street, whose menu was partially devised
by his mother Nicolina. Rocco's Italian American offers 150-plus recipes--restaurant-connected dishes like Nicolina's much praised meatballs plus her Eggplant Rollatini and Pizza Fritta, among others. Worthy versions of old favorites include Spaghetti
Carbonara, Linguini with Clams, and Stuffed Artichokes. Requiring fewer than ten ingredients, the recipes are as tempting as they are approachable.
But recipes are only part of the package. Following the introduction (a bumpy start, as DiSpirito
writes that "every American has in common... one émigré who started it all by coming to America," a statement that Native Americans, among others, will find objectionable) the book offers "Nicolina's Story" and "Rocco's Story," 60-odd pages of detailed
reminiscence that some readers will welcome and others find excessive. Photos throughout illustrate the dishes; the chef and his clan (this reader stopped counting shots of DiSpirito at 22); and, unaccountably, portraits of common ingredients like
lemons, walnuts, and red pepper flakes, among others. This lavish "editorializing" means recipe squeezing, resulting in the use of a very small font that makes reading the methods, especially at "cooking distance," difficult. There are other problems as
well, including the "loss" of recipes promised on the flyleaf and in the seafood section intro.
These objections aside, the book promises much good eating--including "dolce" like Elena's Ricotta Grain Cake and Chocolate Walnut Budino--and for
DiSpirito fans, another chance to learn from, and gaze at, the master. --Arthur Boehm
The star of NBC's reality show The Restaurant dishes up the mouthwatering Italian classics that made his TV show and eateries so hot.
A delicious collection of timeless family recipes -- including Mamma's Meatballs -- from culinary superstar Rocco DiSpirito!
Superstar chef Rocco DiSpirito made a name for himself by taking flavor where it had never gone before. But this
decorated chef who blazed through the Culinary Institute of America and burst onto New York's fine dining scene -- landing himself on the cover of Gourmet -- actually honed his taste buds on the timeless Italian recipes handed down through his family for
generations. Rocco's Italian-American lifts the lid on these age-old meals and shares their secrets, as well as the histories and family traditions that go along with them.
More than just a cookbook, Rocco's Italian-American is a celebration of
the family recipes and experiences of one immigrant family in New York and is sure to become a classic. It is also filled with the wisdom of Rocco's Mamma, who is beloved by the millions who know her from her television appearances.
delicious recipe includes a personal note on the dish, a story associated with it, or a variation preferred by certain relatives. The book is organized by parts of the meal (antipasto, soup, pasta, fish, meat, salad, bread, sweets, and holiday menus).
Rocco describes the techniques of the Italian-American kitchen and instructs on the indispensable ingredients, such as tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and beans. The book is lavishly illustrated with (old and new) photos and other artifacts and mementos from
his family's treasure chest, including maps, handwritten recipes, and childhood drawings.
Now for the first time, Rocco shares his favorite family recipes, including:
--Sardines with Fennel
--Farfalle with Grilled Sausage, Fennel, and Baby Artichoke
--Red Snapper and Heirloom Tomatoes Poached in Olive Oil
--Asparagus with Besciamella
--Poached Cherries with Ricotta Gelato and Toasted Pandoro
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