The Italian American Cookbook: A Feast of Food from a Great American Cooking Tradition

The Italian American Cookbook: A Feast of Food from a Great American Cooking Tradition

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by John F. Mariani
     
 

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Italian-American dishes are what we crave and what we make, what we order and what we wax rhapsodic about.  The last century has seen hundreds of inspired new dishes take their place at the table alongside traditional preparations, resulting in a cuisine that is as current as it is classic.  At last, here is the place to look for the tastiest and most

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Overview

Italian-American dishes are what we crave and what we make, what we order and what we wax rhapsodic about.  The last century has seen hundreds of inspired new dishes take their place at the table alongside traditional preparations, resulting in a cuisine that is as current as it is classic.  At last, here is the place to look for the tastiest and most definitive renderings of Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Steak Florentine, Pasta alla Primavera, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Spinach with Pignolis, Tiramisu, and all the other treasures of the Italian-American table.  In these pages, America’s premier restaurant critic, John Mariani, and his wizard-in-the-kitchen wife, Galina Mariani, update and perfect all the classics in lighter, less creamy-and-cheesy versions made with the freshest of ingredients.

The Marianis make a convincing case that Italian-American cooking, far from being a watered-down version of Italian cookery, is a full-fledged cuisine in its own right.  In fact, as they show in a fascinating introduction, many elements of Italian cuisine in Italy today are actually imports from the Italian-American repertoire.  In 250 recipes, they reveal not only how glorious that repertoire is but also how its basic elements may be used in innovative new ways—in a Risotto with Apples and Saffron, for example, or a Pork Roast with Fennel.  This is a feast of food, from antipasti and soups through pastas and pizzas all the way to dessert, and also of history and folklore, in the dozens of sidebars and archival photographs that bring to life the family restaurants and home kitchens where these magnificent ethnic dishes are prepared and enjoyed.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If, as the authors emphasize, one uses only the freshest ingredients (they include a guide to the best sources for Italian foods by state), the result--whether a simple salad or an adventurous dessert--will be a culinary triumph to enjoy. In their overstuffed tribute to one of our country's favorite cuisines, the Marianis (Galina is a food columnist, John is the author of The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink) tackle both the familiar and the rare. Many of their spaghetti dishes are paired with vegetables, such as a Spaghetti with Cauliflower recipe, which also calls for currants, saffron and anchovies. Conversely, fruit is often used to brighten their meat dishes. Roasted Sausages and Grapes are hot and sweet at once, and there's an irresistible Mountain Lamb Scallopine with Figs and Honey made with ginger, fennel and orange juice. Additionally, the authors include a small collection of comforting, childhood favorites, like Johnny Marzetti, an Italian-style Sloppy Joe; Chicken Tetrazzini, with Parmigiano-Reggiano, heavy cream and butter; and even Baked Macaroni and Cheese, perked up with a touch of cayenne. Quite addictive and good for the soul, if not always for the waistline, these 250 recipes will prove handy on nights when there are no reservations to be found at the local ristorante. Agent, Heide Lange. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Now that such essential ingredients as good olive oil and real Parmesan cheese have become readily available here, and Italian restaurants in this country are far more sophisticated than those old-fashioned neighborhood places that offered little more than spaghetti and meatballs, restaurant critic Mariani (The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink) and his wife decided to explore "the new Italian-American cuisine." They include more than 250 recipes for both well-prepared versions of familiar dishes that all too often had become little more than clich s, such as Clams Casino, as well as more contemporary dishes using Italian ingredients and cooking techniques, such as Tuna Carpaccio with Chives. Wine suggestions are included throughout, and headnotes and sidebars provide culinary history and lore, along with family anecdotes and reminiscences. For most collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
(HC)1558321667 (SC)With this cookbook the Marianis put Americans on notice that Italian-American food is no longer the homey red-checkered-tablecloth-with-wax-dripped-Chianti-bottle and red sauce. What began in this country as the cuisine of poor southern Italian immigrants has reinvented itself. The reader learns about the reverence with which Italian Americans treat food and the quality that they demand. The Marianis are tired of stereotypes. They, and many other Italian Americans, want their cuisine to be recognized and respected. This cookbook that is full of great wine, prosciutto, cheeses, balsamic vinegar, porcini mushrooms, farro, and lots of fresh vegetables make respect a sure thing. The Marianis divide their book into sixteen sections, making the purchase of this book a major commitment. Just the sections on history, ingredients, and wines are detailed enough to keep readers taking the book to bed with them for a month. If these sections aren't enough to convince Americans of how serious Italian Americans are about their food, then the next twelve chapters on antipasti; soup; salad; pasta (with fifty-six recipes); risotto and polenta; seafood; meats; poultry; vegetables; breads, pizza and sandwiches; desserts and confections; and drinks will. Although substantial, this book is accessible to its American public. The Mariani's offering hovers somewhere between the reigning queen of Italian cooking, Marcella Hazan, and red-checkered tablecloth cooks. Its clearly laid-out pages and exhaustive information will accompany readers to the market armed with self-confidence. The recipes are not only distilled favorites like Veal Scallopine with Marsala, but also innovative dishes that the Marianis create with American foods like Rock Shrimp Cannelloni. If there is a weak area in the Marianis work it would be in recipe writing. True, the recipes are well-written and very clear, yet they sometimes lack the feeling that the Marianis are at your elbow while you cook. When they tell you to saute shrimp in the recipe for Shrimp Scampi there is no motherly admonition about overcooking them. Any Italian worth her pasta will tell you that shrimp can easily turn to rubber. If they don't handhold much, the Marianis do entertain readers with information in the form of sidebars. Four pages regale readers with How to Tell an Italian Restaurant from an Italian-American Restaurant. Sidebars give one tidbits like First Rule of Italian Cookery: "If the pasta is overcooked, throw it out! There is no method of saving or restoring overcooked pasta." The Marianis pull the Italian-American cooking revolution together in this book. It's not just another pretty face. Much like Italian-Americans themselves, this cookbook is adaptable, beautiful, food-serious and hard working.
From the Publisher
"The Marianis write knowledgeably, entertainingly, and creatively about our favorite subject!"—Robert Mondavi, chairman of Robert Mondavi Winery

"WOW! John and Galina Mariani have done it again! Full of history, great stories, and lots of delicious recipes."—Emeril Lagasse, TV host of Emeril Live and author of Every Day's a Party

"John and Galina Mariani leave no stone unturned in tracing the history of Italian-American cuisine and celebrating its distinctive role in American culture. The recipes are well balanced, delicious, and reminiscent of my own Italian-American upbringing."—Todd English, author of The Olives Table and The Figs Table

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558321656
Publisher:
Harvard Common Press, The
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 9.36(h) x 1.59(d)

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