Cucina Rustica: Simple, Irresistible Recipes in the Rustic Italian Style


Cucina Rustica,"the rustic 'kitchen,"is Italian food at its simplest and freshest. With more than 250 recipes that use readily available ingredients in deliciously creative combinations, La Place and Kleiman offer a style of cooking and eating that's inviting, easy, and elegant.

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Cucina Rustica,"the rustic 'kitchen,"is Italian food at its simplest and freshest. With more than 250 recipes that use readily available ingredients in deliciously creative combinations, La Place and Kleiman offer a style of cooking and eating that's inviting, easy, and elegant.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Cucina Rustica proves that you can have style and taste without spending hours in the kitchen. It is a book for today.
Entertainment Weekly
In the overcrowed field of irresistible Italian cookbooks, La Place and Kleiman have carved out a niche with food that is fresh, fast, stylish,...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060935115
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 625,080
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Viana La Place is the author of numerous books on Italian cooking, including Desserts and Sweet Snacks, Rustic Italian Style, and Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini. She lives in San Francisco and spends part of each year in Italy.

Evan Kleiman is the executive chef and owner of Los Angeles' enormously successful Angeli Caffe. She is the bestselling coauthor (with Viana La Place) of Pasta Fresca, Cucina Fresca, and Cucina Rustica. She has also authored two of her own cookbooks, Angeli Caffe Pizza Pasta Panini and Cucina del Mare, and is the host of GoodFood, a weekly radio show on Los Angeles National Public Radio Station.

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Read an Excerpt


Appetizer Croutons

Serves 8 to 10

We often serve Crostini instead of bruschetta at large gatherings or cocktail parties. Crostini are smaller, less filling, and more delicate. Either use a baguette-type loaf that has a small diameter, or cut bread slices in halves or, if necessary, in quarters.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or left whole
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley (optional)
1 loaf good-quality baguette or other thin loaf, cut into thin slices

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and parsley, and gently cook over low heat until the garlic releases its aroma. Add the slices of bread and fry until golden on one side, then turn each piece and fry the other side.

Involtini di Melanzane al Forno

Baked Eggplant Rolls withMozzarella and Mint

Serves 4 to 6

Cooked eggplant is incredibly rich and creamy. It can be roasted, fried, grilled, or braised; each cooking method brings out slightly different nuances of flavor. In this recipe, golden fried eggplant slices are wrapped around fresh mozzarella, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and chopped fresh mint. The eggplant rolls are moistened with a little tomato-basil sauce and put in the oven just until the cheeses melt. The success of the dish lies in careful selection and handling of ingredients. Slice the eggplant thinly and drain it well on paper towels. Use the freshest mozzarella and good imported Pecorino Romano cheese. Lightly cook thetomato-basil sauce and use only fresh, aromatic herbs.

I medium-large firm, glossy eggplant
Olive oil for frying
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced 1-1/2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, chopped with their juice
Handful fresh basil leaves, divided
1/2pound fresh mozzarella
1/4cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Trim the stem ends of the eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Salt lightly and let drain for 1 hour. Pat eggplant dry with paper towels.

Add enough olive oil to a medium-sized sautd pan to measure 1/2 inch. Heat the oil until it is hot but not smoking. Fry the eggplant slices, a few at a time, until they are golden on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Continue frying eggplant slices in batches until all are fried. Place the extravirgin olive oil and garlic in a small saut6 pan. Warm over low heat for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, salt to taste, and a few whole basil leaves, and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Shred the mozzarella. On each eggplant slice, place a little shredded mozzarella, a teaspoon or more of grated cheese, and a sprinkling of chopped mint. Roll up each eggplant slice and place in a baking dish just large enough to contain the rolls in I layer. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top. Place in a preheated 375' oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until the cheeses melt. Let rest for a few minutes. Chop the remaining basil and sprinkle over the top just before serving.

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