Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food
Publication Date: October 28, 2008
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The recipes that one of New York's best young chefs cooks in his own kitchen: a cookbook full of soulful, sophisticated food and delicious stories
While waiting for construction to finish on his restaurant A Voce, Andrew Carmellini faced an unusual challenge. After a brilliant career in professional kitchens (including a six-year tour as chef de cuisine at Cafe Boulud), he was faced with the harsh reality of life as a civilian cook: no prep cooks, no saucier, no daily deliveries--just him and his wife in their tiny Manhattan-apartment kitchen.
"Urban Italian" is made up of the recipes that result when a great chef has to use the same resources as the rest of us. In these hundred recipes--covering four distinct courses, side dishes, and base recipes--Carmellini shows how to make stunning, soulful food with nothing more than the ingredients, techniques, and time available to the ordinary home cook. The food is sophisticated but also easy to make: lamb meatballs stuffed with goat cheese; veal, beef, and pork ravioli; roast pork with Italian plums and grappa; fennel with Sambuca and orange; and a honey-flavored pine nut cake.
The book opens with a narrative (written by Carmellini with his wife and coauthor, Gwen Hyman) that traces Carmellini's culinary education--a series of outrageous tales that will delight anyone who loved "Heat "or" Kitchen Confidential." Also scattered through the book are short pieces on places and ingredients, placed alongside recipes to shed light on the history and practice of simple, beautiful cooking. This is a book you'll find yourself using all the time--to cook from for weeknights and for special occasions, or just to sit down with and read.
Gwen Hyman is the coauthor of Urban Italian, and the author of Making a Man: Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel. She has written about food, restaurants, and chefdom for Gastronomica, the Robb Report, Food & Wine, and other publications. She teaches about literature, culture, and food at the Cooper Union, where she directs the Center for Writing. She lives in New York City with her husband, the chef Andrew Carmellini.
QUENTIN BACON is a top food photographer whose work has appeared in magazines such as Food & Wine and Real Simple as well as in many cookbooks, including Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten, Holiday Food by Mario Batali, R.S.V.P. by Nan Kempner, Cakewalk by Margaret Braun, Our Latin Table by Fernando Saralegui, and Dinner After Dark by Colin Cowie. His Web site is www.quentinbacon.com.