by Sybil PrattSeptember, 2005
A proud Tuscan through and through, Cesare Casella is delighted that Tuscan has become synonymous with the best that Italy has to offer. But Cesare wants more: he wants everyone to know his Tuscany, especially its food. True Tuscan: Flavors and Memories from the Countryside of Tuscany, his latest cookbook, is his passionate, personal guide to the way he works with food. The Casella approach is free range, taking inspiration from all over Italy throughout its long history. In his hands, Sicilian Pasta Norma, a Bean Frittata first made for Cosimo di Medici, or Cacciucco, a traditional spicy fish stew, all become contemporary Tuscan because, as he says without false modesty, I'm Tuscan. And when he creates a dish like spareribs (unusual in Italian cuisine) alla cacciatore, it, like the best Tuscan food, is all about invention. It's also about the joy of preparing fabulous food from antipasti to dolci with a true Tuscan.