Cooking by Hand

Cooking by Hand

5.0 2
by Paul Bertolli, Gail Skoff, Judy Dater
     
 

One of the most respected chefs in the country, Paul Bertolli earns glowing praise for the food at California’s renowned Oliveto restaurant. Now he shares his most personal thoughts about cooking in his long-awaited book, Cooking by Hand. In this groundbreaking collection of essays and recipes, Bertolli evocatively explores the philosophy behind the foodSee more details below

Overview

One of the most respected chefs in the country, Paul Bertolli earns glowing praise for the food at California’s renowned Oliveto restaurant. Now he shares his most personal thoughts about cooking in his long-awaited book, Cooking by Hand. In this groundbreaking collection of essays and recipes, Bertolli evocatively explores the philosophy behind the food that Molly O’Neill of the New York Times described as “deceptively simple, [with] favors clean, deep, and layered more profusely than a mille-feuille.”

From “Twelve Ways of Looking at Tomatoes” to Italian salumi in “The Whole Hog,” Bertolli explores his favorite foods with the vividness of a natural writer and the instincts of a superlative chef. Scattered throughout are more than 140 recipes remarkable for their clarity, simplicity, and seductive appeal, from Salad of Bitter Greens, Walnuts, Tesa, and Parmigiano and Chilled Shellfish with Salsa Verde to Short Ribs Agrodolce and Tagliolini Pasta with Crab. Unforgettable desserts, such as Semifreddo of Peaches and Mascarpone and Hazelnut Meringata with Chocolate and Espresso Sauce, round out a collection that’s destined to become required reading for any food lover.

Rich with the remarkable food memories that inspire him, from the taste of ripe Santa Rosa plums and the aroma of dried porcini mushrooms in his mother’s ragu to eating grilled bistecca alla Fiorentina on a foggy late autumn day in Chianti, Cooking by Hand will ignite a passion within you to become more creatively involved in the food you cook.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bertolli (Chez Panisse Cooking), former chef at Chez Panisse and now chef and co-owner of Oliveto restaurant in Oakland, Calif., persuasively encourages cooks to understand ingredient essentials and to appreciate the open-ended joy of learning and discovery. With stimulating essays on everything from gathering wild mushrooms and types of pasta flour to a 14-page section on the wonders of balsamic vinegar, Bertolli is nothing less than a pied piper for the Italian kitchen. Irresistibly, he explains how to replicate his restaurant's take on the Bloody Mary by using fresh tomatoes, how to prepare Risotto of Leeks with Balsamico and how to plan a menu by choosing dessert first, thus ensuring that it is a fitting conclusion for preceding courses. Atypically arranged in thematic sections-"Twelve Ways of Looking at a Tomato," "Bottom-Up Cooking," "The Whole Hog"-this volume is seductive, both in voice and because some of the 120-plus recipes, such as the one for Saltimbocca of Chicken, are so conversationally presented as to be narratives rather than precise lists of components and directions. When Bertolli extols the virtues of a home extruder machine for making fresh macaroni or supplies an illustrated seven-page procedure for curing prosciutto at home, he often gives the home cook a process to marvel at rather than aspire to. But even then, his enthusiasm for the result is infectious. This is an absorbing effort throughout. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Oliveto, Bertolli's restaurant in Oakland, CA, has a national reputation, but he is also well known from his long tenure as chef at Alice Waters's Chez Panisse, and he was her coauthor on Chef Panisse Cooking. Here he presents his philosophy of cooking in a series of thoughful essays accompanied by some 100 recipes, grouped by themes such as "Ripeness" and "Cooking Backward: The Place of Dessert in a Menu." Inspired by the annual tomato tasting held at the restaurant to celebrate the summer's bounty, "Twelve Ways of Looking at a Tomato" features the fruit in many guises, from Conserva (homemade Italian-style tomato paste) to Simple Stuffed Tomatoes to Green Tomato Condiment. Some of the recipes are written in a more conversational style rather than the standard recipe setup; all are very detailed, although occasionally the descriptions can be a bit awkward. And some readers may find Bertolli's text verging on the precious at times (see "Letter to My Newborn Son," on the virtues of balsamic vinegar). Nevertheless, the recipes are delicious and imaginative, and the author has many fans. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780609608937
Publisher:
Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
Publication date:
08/19/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
444,845
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.31(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

BAKED PEARS WITH RICOTTA, WALNUTS, AND OLD BALSAMICO
For 4

To buy condiment-grade balsamico and aceto balsamico tradizionale, see Sources and Resources, page 260.

4 very ripe Bosc or Winter Nellis pears
Unsalted butter
1/2 cup very fresh ricotta (preferably sheep's milk)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Balsamico extra vecchio, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel and core the pears and arrange them cored side up in a buttered baking dish. Bake the pears for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender to the tip of a sharp knife.

Serve the pears while still blood warm with a dollop of fresh ricotta and a scattering of walnuts. Spoon any juices remaining in the baking dish over and around the pears. Drizzle balsamico extra vecchio over each portion at the table.

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