Omertà, the Godfather, Don Corleone? There’s a lot more to Sicily than Mafioso melodrama. It’s a beautiful island with beautiful food, food that stands out in a part of the world known for its extraordinary cuisine. Sicily, compiled by the esteemed editors of the Italian classic The Silver Spoon, with 50 regional recipes and more than 150 full-color photos of countryside and kitchen, offers a new tribute to this storied, sun-drenched land and its vibrant, varied table. A profusion of fusion, Sicilian cuisine today is a marvelous mélange of its conquerors and the food culture they brought with them—from the early Greek colonies to the Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Spaniards and French—a unique mosaic set in a fertile landscape that moves from sea to mountains to sea, from simple Baked Swordfish to Stuffed Eggplant Slices and Fried Stuffed Tomatoes to traditional Pasta with Sardines and the ubiquitous, unfailingly flavorful Caponata. This is a great book for travelers, cooks and dreamers, armchair and otherwise.
SUMPTUOUS AND SUSTAINABLE
Twenty years ago, a group of well-known, committed chefs got together to talk about environmental issues, food production and sustainable cooking (though the phrase was not yet part of our vocabulary). Chefs were becoming celebrities, and these forward-looking cooks realized that they could impact the American foodscape—and they have. The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious Recipes from America’s Great Chefs celebrates the positive effect their message continues to have with a collection of 115 local, seasonal and sustainable recipes from some of our best chefs. From Heirloom Beet and Upland Cress Salad with Apples, Grapefruit and Fennel-Buttermilk Dressing, to White Chocolate Mascarpone, Strawberries, and Basil in Phyllo, with stops for Crispy Porchetta with Salsa Verde and Sweet-and-Sour Catfish with Green Tomato Jam and Red Pepper Marmalade, the bounty of the seasons and the pleasure of eating pastured meat and poultry and sustainable seafood is showcased in fabulous, creative and elegant dishes. With these chefs as your guides, your food can be, as Ruth Reichl points out, “gorgeous and good for you and the planet.”
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
In his debut cookbook, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, Fabio Viviani—a fan favorite on “Top Chef All-Stars” and host of Yahoo!’s super-popular “Chow Ciao!”—tells us that this is more than a cookbook. It’s his inspiring, heartfelt celebration of Italian tradition and his rags-to-riches (or scraps-to-scrumptious) life, from poor Florentine kid who started cooking with his great-grandmother at the age of 5 to celebrity chef and owner of three successful restaurants in the U.S. The list of more than 150 recipes should get your full attention, too. After all my years in the kitchen, I often skip the basics, but not here: Check out the Basic Risotto, simple Tomato Sauce and Chunky Basil Pesto, all worth the price of admission. Fabio’s food is old world, old school; it’s “not meant to impress, it’s meant to feed people.” When you add his Mom’s Meatballs, Drunken Spaghetti and Chicken with Marsala Sauce to your repertoire, you’ll be feeding family and friends real Italian home cooking, and you’ll agree that Fabio is favoloso!