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Rao's Cookbook: Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking Hardcover – 1 May 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Rao's Cookbook: Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking
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  • Rao's Recipes from the Neighborhood: Frank Pelligrino Cooks Italian with Family and Friends
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc (1 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679457496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679457497
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 468,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Rao's, the hundred-year-old restaurant with a mere ten tables tucked in a corner of East Harlem in what was once a legendary Italian
neighborhood, is one of the most sought-after restaurants in all of Manhattan. Its tables are booked months
in advance by regulars who go to enjoy what The New York Times calls its "exquisitely simple Italian cooking" from traditional recipes,
many as old as Rao's itself. You may not get a table at Rao's, but now with this book you can prepare the best Italian home-style food in the
world in your own kitchen. Here for the first time are recipes for all of Rao's fabulous classics--its famous marinara sauce, seafood salad,
roasted peppers with pine nuts and raisins, baked clams, lemon chicken, chicken scarpariello, and on and on.
The recipes are accompanied by photographs that re-create Rao's magic and testimonials from loyal Rao's fans--
from Woody Allen to Beverly Sills. Here too is a brief history of the restaurant by Nicholas Pileggi and a Preface by Dick Schaap.
Both will convince you that what you have in your hands is a national treasure, a piece of history, and a collection of the best Italian
American recipes you will ever find.

From the Back Cover

Here for the first time are recipes for all of Rao's fabulous classics - its famous marinara sauce, seafood salad, roasted peppers with pine nuts and raisins, baked clams, lemon chicken, chicken scarpariello, and on and on. The recipes are accompanied by photographs that recreate Rao's magic and testimonials from loyal Rao's fans - from Woody Allen to Beverly Sills. Here too is a brief history of the restaurant by Nicholas Pileggi and a Preface by Dick Schaap. Both will convince you that what you have in your hands is a national treasure, a piece of history, and a collection of the best Italian American recipes you will ever find.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We looked foward to cooking from this book. However, we've been very disappointed...something is missing...mainly ingredients...otherwise this is the blandest food ever. tried sunday gravy... 3 cans of tomatoes and 2 cans of water with 3tablespoons of tomato paste...no spices...just roasting meats...tasted like tomato soup!
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Format: Hardcover
Every household has a favorite cooking style, a combination of taste, memories, and the necessities of place, time, and diet. In our house, that position has sometimes been held by French food and occasionally Asian, but the all-time and ultimate winner is Italian.
Italian food, with its emphasis on the freshest and best seasonal ingredients - and the least fuss in cooking them - is very appealing. Real Italian cooking, as it is cooked and eaten in Italy, focuses on vegetables and grains, with meats used as seasoning, garnish, and treat, so it's also very healthy.
American-Italian cooking - the kind you remember from the old-style neighborhood Italian restaurant of your childhood memories - is based on that, but is much richer, with meat taking the center place.
Rao's Cookbook is a perfect melding of the two, offering both classic Italian dishes and classic Italian-American ones.
In fact, on page 65, I discovered Sunday Gravy, Rao's version of The Big Spaghetti Dinner, a favorite buffet dinner of ours for many years. I noted with culinary interest and delight that Rao's use the thinner tomato gravy I remember from my visits to Philadelphia's authentic South Philly Italian restaurants instead of the thick tomato sauce (derived, I'd guess, from some tenth generation bastardization of Ragu Bolognese) that we suggest.
No one can reasonably expect to get into tiny Rao's (it has 8 tables and one seating) except via celebrity or inheritance. The seats are "owned" by the original diners and Rao's has withstood any enticements to expand. These recipes are the next best thing. If you like to cook Italian style, they may be better! We've tried many of the recipes and enjoyed every one.
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Format: Hardcover
My review was posted a few weeks ago, the book is very good!
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By A Customer on 6 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
One of the best, if not the best, Italian cookbooks in my kitchen, and I have close to 75 of them. The tripe recipe is outstanding! I was interested in the comment from one reader who complained about the macaroni gravy (we call "sauce" gravy in Rhode Island) being like tomato soup. When I read the recipe, I also had reservations. I would suggest that instead of adding two cans of water, add two small cans of tomato sauce (Hunt's, believe it or not, is good) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Also, when adding the paste, add it no more than one-half hour before you are going to take the pot off the stove, and add no more than two tablespoons of the paste. If you add more and cook it longer, it will just turn to sugar. Other than this recipe for gravy, I found the book full of authentic recipes.
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By A Customer on 16 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've heard that Rao's Restaurant is as close to "authentic" as you can get. Never having dined at the tiny restaurant I easily dismissed such claims. Nothing could top the favorite dishes of my family. When I opened the Rao's Cookbook I felt as though I opened up the oven to my past. The mere sight of ingredients, not to mention the smells, were very familiar. After having sampled many of the recipes (most several times) I could find no fault, only praise. It was as if every grandparent, aunt and uncle were busy preparing their finest dishes for me to enyoy. But better yet I finally have all their recipes, down to the subtle ingredients they conveniently leave out. Thank you Rao's, it is "authentic."
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By A Customer on 7 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
The recipes are OK, but in my opinion, 1 cup of olive oil per recipe is too much, even if you are using the best of oils, in which case it seems to me you would use less, not more oil. I have tried several recipes and found that most of them would have been better had I cut back on all of that oil -- everything tasted like it was swimming in grease. If that's real home Italian cooking, then they must like it greasy. This book was kind of a disappointment after all the hype. Also, these are not dishes you are going to make after working all day. These require planning, preparation, distinct ingredients, like special tomators, and time to put it all together.
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Format: Hardcover
Coming from an Italian family, I was a little reluctent to try other family recipes. Well the ones I have made so far were absolutely fabulous! From the meatballs and gravy to the chicken scarpiello. Please don't forget the pork chops with sweet and hot peppers. I have to tried to eat at Rao's, but unfortunately it is who you know. Soon enough I might have a way in there. But the book will do just fine for now! The stories in the book are so great. As my mother would say "food is the glue that keeps the family together." Oh, and olive oil and garlic is the essence of life.
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Format: Hardcover
Having lived in NYC, and knowing that I'll never get into Rao's, this book was quickly welcomed onto my cookbook shelves. I've tried several of the recipes and they were easy to follow and great dining experiences. Once artichokes come into season, the stuffed artichoke recipe will be at the top of my list. I know that this recipe is the authentic one. I've already recommended this book to several friends.
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