5 Best New Gift-Worthy Cookbooks
|Stewart, Tabori and Chang|
|Fundamentals of Italian Cuisine|
Why: After you flip through the vast recipe section, the lesson plans offer step-by-step guidelines on trussing a chicken, flavoring risotto, and just about anything else you might every want to know about making traditional, everyday Italian cuisine. It's a massive book with a hefty price tag ($80/ $50 on Amazon), but a bargain compared to taking classes at The International Culinary Center's School of Italian Studies.
For: Italo-philes, anyone considering culinary school (cook through this book first, then decide), handmade pasta, pizza and risotto lovers (Who isn't?).
Chapters: Part 1, Recipes (too numerous to list; covers classic stocks and sauces, pasta/gnocchi, risotto, egg and meat dishes, fish/shellfish, vegetables, tarts, desserts). Part 2: Lesson plans, such as how to shape gnocchi and working with Italian creams and custards.
1. SPQR: Modern Italian Food & Wine by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino with Kate Leahy:
Ten Speed Press SPQR Cookbook
Why: If you've missed chef Matt Accarrino's cooking since he left Craft in L.A for SPQR in San Francisco, where he has won countless accolades and most recently a Michelin star, you can now makes his braised oxtail in cabbage leaves with cranberry beans (p. 29) during marathon entertaining weekends at home.
For: The adventurous Italian-centric weekend cook looking for creative restaurant inspiration from a talented chef with a contagious enthusiasm. Squid Ink fans (p. 127: handmade squid ink linguini with braised squid, sea urchin, broccoli crema and pan-toasted breadcrumbs).
Chapters: They are divided by Italian wine region with introductions on grapes and wine styles (Lindgren is co-owner and wine director of the restaurant). Accarrino's recipes follow in chapters on Lazio/Rome (spiced ricotta fritters with smoked maple syrup), Le Marche (fried surf clams with agrodolce and onion, fennel and cherry pepper salad), Umbria (fava bean agnolotti with mashed black truffle), Emilia-Romagna/Lombardia (veal and mortadella tortellini en consommé) and such. The "Resources" chapter includes items like xanthan gum (for making emulsified vinaigrettes with "an ideal creamy texture) but also many of Accarrino's own handy pantry recipes including his basic seasoning/cure for meats and fish.
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