book Review & Recipes
By Cheri Sicard
Fans of HBOs The Sopranos will love this book that will allow them to curl up in front of the television to watch their favorite show while chowing down on some authentic Neapolitan cuisine like the dishes served on the show. Even if youve never seen a single episode of the Sopranos, youll still love the recipes that cover everything from simple comfort food -- Lasagna, Baked Ziti, Giambotta (vegetable stew) or Peppers and Eggs Sandwiches; to elegant entrees like Quail Sinatra Style or Lobster Fra Diavolo. Theres also appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes and desserts, all in the Neapolitan style of cooking -- the food of Naples, the Sopranos homeland, including such ethnic favorites as Braciole, Baccala Pizzaiola and Ziti al Forno. A collection of sweets and desserts like Cannoli, Ricotta Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Baba au Rhum rounds out the collection of 98 recipes.
Despite the three exotic sample recipes the publisher chose to share with us, most of the recipes are simple to prepare, using common everyday ingredients.
Fans of the show will have fun reading the books text and looking at the full color photos. The Sopranos favorite restaurateur Artie Bucco, is your host throughout the pages which also feature guest appearances by other principle characters:
* The Soprano Family Tradition: A Conversation with Corrado Soprano, Jr.
* Sunday Dinner as Remembered by Janice Soprano
* Feeding My Family: A Chat with Carmela Soprano
* Mia Cucina by Artie Bucco
* Cooking for the Whole Famiglia: Party Planning with Charmaine Bucco and Carmela Soprano
* Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food: Excerpts from a Paper by Dr. Jennifer Melfi and Dr. Richard La Penna
* My Nucci by Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri
* Cibo DAmore: Advice from Adriana La Cerva
* Grilling Italian Style by Anthony Soprano (as told to Artie Bucco) and
* If I Couldnt Eat, Id F**king Die: Bobby Bacala Speaks Out
This book is a must for Sopranos fans or would make an excellent gift for fan friends or family. For everyone else, it still a beautifully produced Neapolitan cookbook with recipes by Italian cooking expert Michele Scicolone and mouth watering full color photographs to inspire you to get into the kitchen and start cooking Italian.
in Salsa di Pomodoro
( Baby Octopus in Tomato Sauce)
2 pounds baby octopus
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes or chopped canned
Italian peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
6 to 12 friselle (black pepper biscuits) or slices toasted Italian bread
Rinse the octopus and drain well. Remove the hard round beak at the base of the tentacles of each octopus.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the octopus, tomatoes, oil, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the garlic, red pepper, and salt to taste. Bring sauce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
Uncover the pan and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the octopus is tender when pierced with a knife and the sauce is thick.
Sprinkle the friselle with water to soften them slightly. Divide the friselle, or slices of toast, among six plates. Top with the octopus and sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and serve.
Serves 4 to 6
8 fresh or thawed frozen quail
8 ounces Italian-style fennel pork sausages
2 tablespoons very finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* * *
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Rinse the quail and pat them dry. Tuck the wing tips under the backs.
Remove the sausage meat from the casing. Mix the sausage meat with the sun-dried tomatoes. Put some meat mixture inside each quail. With kitchen twine, tie the legs together.
Put the quail in a covered flameproof casserole large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the wine, rosemary, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
Uncover and cook, basting two or three times, for 30 to 40 minutes longer, or until the quail is very tender and browned. Transfer the quail to a serving platter. Cover and keep warm.
Place the casserole on top of the stove and bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until thickened and reduced to a glaze. Spoon the sauce over the quail. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
al Vino Bianco
6 Bosc or Anjou pears (not too ripe)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 strips lemon zest, about 2 inches long
1 vanilla bean
* * *
With a demitasse spoon or melon baller, working from the bottom of the pears, scoop out the core and seeds.
In a saucepan large enough to hold all of the pears upright, bring the wine, water, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla bean to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pears and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook, turning the pears once, for 20 minutes, or until they are tender throughout when pierced with a small knife.
Transfer the pears to a serving dish. Turn the heat under the pan to medium-high and cook the syrup until thickened and golden, about 10 minutes.
Pour the syrup over the pears. Let cool slightly, then cover and chill before serving.
Sicard Editor, Fabulous Foods -- http://www.fabulousfoods.com
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