Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook

Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook

4.8 5
by Tony Danza

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In the Danza family, the men did most of the cooking — great Italian-American food that has remained the favorite cuisine in American households for more than a century.

Now, actor, television personality, and exuberant cook Tony Danza and his son, Marc (and grandson, Nicholas!), invite you into the kitchen with their huge, at times hilarious,


In the Danza family, the men did most of the cooking — great Italian-American food that has remained the favorite cuisine in American households for more than a century.

Now, actor, television personality, and exuberant cook Tony Danza and his son, Marc (and grandson, Nicholas!), invite you into the kitchen with their huge, at times hilarious, Italian-American clan for 50 top-secret family recipes (the sauce and the lasagna) and never-before-shared stories and photographs.

You'll meet Tony's mom and dad, and Tony's mom's family, the Camisas. You'll meet Marc's family and of course his son, Nicholas. You'll meet the uncles, the aunts, and the cousins, all important people in Tony's and Marc's upbringing. You'll read stories about an Italian immigrant family that grew strong in America and really lived the American dream.

The stories are, for the most part, wrapped around the recipes and the food that was the center of family life: Uncle John's Pasta with Prosciutto Sauce, Mother's Lasagna, Chicken with Lemon and Garlic, Holiday Antipasto, Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Escarole and Bean Soup, Ricotta Cheesecake, and even Tony and Marc's Quick or Date Sauce, a fabulous tomato sauce that's fast, easy, and sure to help you impress the ladies.

So pull up a chair, pick up a fork, and join Tony and Marc as they cook, eat, and laugh their way through the generations. And remember, "don't fill up on the antipasto."

Editorial Reviews

Son Marc Danza is a trained chef living in Los Angeles. Father Tony Danza is, well, Tony Danza: for most sensate Americans, the former star of Taxi, Who's the Boss, and The Tony Danza Show. What makes this cookbook memorable, however, are not Tony's celebrity reminisces but the recipes and the memories that father and son share about an Italian-American family whose traditions revolve mostly around food. Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto offers heaping portions of nostalgia but doesn't neglect to offer extra servings of tasty recipes. The goodies include Aunt Rose's Fusilli Casserole; Spaghetti and Meatballs; Tiramisu; Ricotta Cheesecake; and, of course, Antipasto.
Library Journal

Every Italian American favorite and some new surprises are generously served up in this warmhearted cookbook, which conveys the close-knit Danza family's passion for food. Family anecdotes accompany the recipes, which range from lasagna to pizza, with guacamole and Tangerine Chicken with Chipotle Glaze for those wishing to move beyond the Italian idiom. The recipes are well explained, and there are plenty of pictures throughout the book of TV star Tony Danza and his son Marc, a chef, as well as extended family members. Readers already familiar with Italian cooking will find many favorites here and will enjoy the family-style recipes, which won't be that daunting to less experienced cooks. There is even a simple dessert chapter that offers some easy yet classic desserts, like tiramisu and ricotta cheesecake. Recommended for public libraries that need a boost to their Italian American cookbook collections.
—Shelley Brown

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Read an Excerpt

Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto

Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook

By Tony Danza Scribner
Copyright © 2008
Tony Danza
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781416544876

Sunday Sauce

It's wonderful to grow up in a large extended family with lots of uncles, aunts, and older and younger cousins. My son and I were lucky to have that. My mother's family did more than keep in touch, they lived near each other. In about a five-block radius, we had four sets of aunts and uncles with their children, and my grandma and grandpa too. That guaranteed a full house for Sunday dinner. That meant a big dinner with a big kids' table, and that also meant Sunday sauce.

Sunday sauce was different. First, there was more of it. It was a big sauce in a big pot, and there were a lot of things in it. When my grandfather was alive, you never knew what might end up in the sauce. He liked rabbit and some other stuff he wouldn't tell the kids about. Second, it cooked a long time. No shortcuts on Sunday.

It was fun when everybody was there. My mother's brothers Mike and Tony would kid with my aunt Rose's husband, Vinny. My father and Uncle Phil kidded all the aunts. Uncle Tony lifting me over his head with one hand. All the cousins running around. The Italian and English all mixed up. The neighbors stopping by. The moans and groans when everyone had to leave. Family.

Nowadays my son and I keep up the family Sunday tradition at one or the other of our houses. Most of the time we have it at my house, but we have made it over to his. He and his wife havea great house, right around the corner from our house. That's another tradition we try to keep alive -- living close together. Making up the rest of the regular group are Marc's wife (Julie) and their son (Nicholas), my brother (Matty) and his wife (Jackie), my wife (Tracy) and our two daughters (Emily and Katie -- although now Katie is away at school), and any of our friends who are nearby and hungry. As they used to say when we were kids, "More company! Throw another pound of macaroni in the pot." What they made then, and what we make now, is the Sunday sauce. It always has meatballs and pork ribs, and sometimes has braciole and/or sausages. Obviously this is a meat sauce. Not gravy. We think gravy goes on turkey.

Sunday Sauce with Meatballs


2 cans (35 ounces each) plum tomatoes with basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Meatballs and Ribs

1 pound ground sirloin or lean ground beef, pork, turkey, veal, chicken, or any combination

2 eggs

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound pork spareribs, trimmed

In our family we use San Marzano plum tomatoes with basil. Strain the tomatoes in a colander to extract the juice, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands. Discard the pulp. (This eliminates the bitter part of the tomato.)

Next make the meatballs. Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the meat along with 6 cloves garlic, the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and milk. Mix this all together with your hands. Wet your hands with water and continue to wet them as you pinch meat from the bowl and roll into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the meatballs and sauté over medium-high heat, turning them, until they are brown all over. As soon as you can pick them up with a fork, they are ready. You don't want them to be well done. (If the meatball slides off the fork when you pick it up, it needs to cook a little longer.)

Cut the ribs apart. Sauté them in the hot oil until very brown and remove. Return the garlic to the oil and add the tomato paste to the pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Back to the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves garlic, the onion, red and black pepper and sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the juiced tomatoes, red wine, Parmesan, and salt. Add the tomato paste and the water and stir together over medium heat. Add the meatballs and spareribs. Bring to an easy boil, then simmer over low heat for 2 hours.

Add the basil and simmer for 15 minutes more. The spareribs should be very tender, falling off the bone, and the meatballs should float in the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

Copyright © 2008 by Marc Anthony Productions, Inc.


Excerpted from Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto by Tony Danza Copyright © 2008 by Tony Danza. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Tony Danza is a former boxer who worked in television on Taxi (1978-1983) and Who's the Boss? (1984-1992). As the host of The Tony Danza Show (2004-2006), he often showed off his culinary skills with son Marc and decided to do a book of family recipes and stories that he and his son treasured.

Marc Danza, who has an extensive background in technology for television and event production, has worked in the industry for ESPN, the Staples Center, and Mandalay Entertainment Group. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

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Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
kilowatt54 More than 1 year ago
I gave this cookbook as a Christmas present to my nephew-in-law (1/2 Italian heritage) and his son (my great nephew) as my nephew-in-law loves to cook. They both spent the next hour looking at the recipes and reading excerpts from the book. Since then, they have tried two of the recipes in the book. They called to tell me how well the food turned out and how good it tasted. This book has given them an excuse to hang out more together and given my nephew-in-law a chance to share his love of cooking with his son. The anecdotes are a marvelous addition to the recipes; as I am part of Tony Danza's generation, the stories brought back memories of what families and neighborhoods were like when I was growing up. I would recommend this book as a gift to men with sons (or daughters) and to all persons who love home cooked Italian food.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was a breeze reading this book and i will definitely try the recipes!!! the stories that are wound around the recipes are so heartwarming.... this book is not just about food it's about what a family should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The books explains everything in detail, Ingredient are very easy to found. And his stories are very interesting. I grow up watching him on TV, seems like a regular guy from Brooklyn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book in har d copy because tony danza is a favorite of mine. But after readihg trough it I was transported back to my own chiildhood and the wonderful family gatherings both planned and impromtu. The recipes are authentic and delicious and so are the memories! Anyone of Italian decent who grew up in the 50s will love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago