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Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy Hardcover – Illustrated, 12 Apr 2012
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'Versatile, simple-to-prepare dishes - a seasonal feast in the making' for Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy --Delicious, May 2012
'Deliciously authentic recipes' for Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy--Daily Mail Weekend, April 14, 2012
'They provide simple, easy-to-follow dishes that make the best use of the freshest ingredients providing a taste sensation' for Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy --The Bookseller
'The Italian Masters Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo share their favourite spring dishes' for Two Greedy Italians --The Sainsburys Magazine, May 1 2011
About the Author
Antonio Carluccio is one of Italy's great food ambassadors. He has written fourteen bestselling books, including Complete Italian Food, Complete Mushroom Book, Italia and Simple Cooking and has also made numerous television programmes. With Priscilla Carluccio he ran the Neal Street Restaurant in London's Covent Garden and spent 10 years developing the hugely successful Carluccio's Caffes. In 1998 he was given the Commendatore award - the equivalent of a British knighthood - for his knowledge, enthusiasm and lifetime's service to the Italian food industry. In 2007 he received the O.B.E. Author Location: London Gennaro Contaldo is widely known as the Italian legend who taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking. He is also a highly respected chef in London and a renowned personality in his own right. Gennaro's quintessentially Italian spirit has made him a TV favourite, regularly appearing on BBC's Saturday Kitchen. He has written five cookbooks, of which Passione was awarded Best Italian Cookbook at the World Gourmand Awards in 2004. Author Location: London
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.Introduction- a snapshot of the lives of Contaldo and Carluccio, together with a brief Italian history and geography.
.Comfort food from the mountains - the Lakes, packed with heart-warming dishes.
.Fresh flavour from the coast - Islands, delicious fresh seafood from Italy's coastline as well as it's islands.
.The larder of the river and plains - Rome.
The photography, by David Loftus, is rustic and breathtaking. I tried the simple recipes that stand the test of time. The focus is on flavours and quality ingredients where only the best will do.
tried the gnocchi di Castagne which was delicious and light, I never heard of chestnut flour before so it was another new discovery for me. Dried chestnuts are milled into a very light brown and gluten free flour with a distinctive aroma and pleasing sweet and nutty taste. I found this flour at my local whole food shop in Brixton.
Warm fresh tuna salad with red onions - lovely citrous and sweet red onions and fresh tuna makes a delicious light lunch, pumpkin risotto has a chilli background to it and the baked apples with walnuts, raisins and honey made a fantastic textured and crunchy finale!
I was sent Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy to be reviewed by Quadrille Publishing. The book will be published on the 12th April and the second major 4-part TV series on BBC2 to follow. You can buy it on Amazon.
With so many cookbooks on the market, and so many covering the same ground, it was a pleasant surprise to find more than a few recipes in 'Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy' that we hadn't come across before, as well as some classics. There's a heavy emphasis on authenticity, and the style of the food is much more 'good home-cooking' than 'fancy restaurant' - which means that the ingredients are readily available (even here in Northern Ireland), the recipes are flavoursome, and they're also fairly easy to reproduce at home.
You might feel a little short-changed if you've a sweet tooth, as there aren't that many dessert recipes, and those that are there won't blow your socks off. That'll come as no surprise to anyone who watched the TV series.
While you can't have a good cookbook without good recipes, it'd be criminal if that's all this book was, given who the authors are. Thankfully the book manages to capture Gennaro's flamboyance, Antonio's more retiring character, and the ying-and-yang friendship the two have. There's a lot of humour in these pages, as well as a great passion for the food, people and culture of The Old Country.
These Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy - in every way possible - and clearly had a great time doing it!
By these 'two' I mean of course Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo. they've been around for as long as I can remember and truly are some of the first ambassadors for Italian food with dozens and dozens of books, articles and TV appearances between them.
Reading this book cover to cover, it almost felt like a travel guide. There is some beautiful photography throughout the book- of the food but also the regions they visited. My geography if Italy isn't great so I found myself searching for maps to discover where the wondrous sounding towns they mention were so a map would have been useful to include. Especially as the format is not by type of dish - starter, main, dessert etc - but by region.
It starts with Comfort Food from the Mountains - the two main ranges being the Alps and the Appenines. I love the way they've included food from bordering countries that has influenced Italian food. It reminded me a little of the recipes in Diana Henry's Roast Figs Sugar Snow. Recipes such as Eisacktaler Weinsuppe (Beef and Wine Soup) and Fonduta Valdostana con Tartufo (Fontina Cheese Fondue with Truffles) have obvious links to the Swiss and Austrian borders but it was nice to see the Italian adaption.
This also includes food influenced by the many forests in the mountain valleys including mushroom dishes like Schwammerlsuppe (Chanterelle Soup) and Funghi Impanati e Fritti (Fried Porcini Mushrooms). Chestnut trees are apparently acommon sight all over North Italy and Gennaro's Gnocchi di Castagne con Burro e Salvia (Chestnut Gnocchi with Sage and Butter Sauce) was one I had to try. I couldn't find any chestnut flour - even in our local Italian deli so I substituted some of the potatoes. We also found the sage butter a little rich so added juice and zest of a whole lemon and some thyme.
I also made the chestnut jam. Not with fresh chestnuts but the tinned purée. It's a lovely alternative to fruit jam and tasted great on Sourdough.
Incidentally I love the dialogue between the two throughout the book and on each recipe. It took me back to my University days wondering at the way Italians can have a single word for a whole sentence in English. Such as - 'Arrangiarsi' which means 'making the best of what you have' and is used to describe Pizzoccheri (Pasta and Potato Bake with Swiss Chard). It looked just like the kind of leftover recipe you want on a cold and windy day. I'd put Mascarpone all' Amaretto (Cream Cheese with Amaretto) in this category too because the recipe is really quite simply such crushed Amaretti Biscuits and Amaretto liqueur drizzled over a dollop of mascarpone. Brilliantly simple!
There's a lovely commentary page about the Lakes of Italy - Como, Maggiore, Garda and Lugano. When I organised conferences long ago I was fortunate to stay at wonderful private villas such as Villa d'Este and the recipes brought back memories of the amazing meals I had.
They then move on to the Coast and there is a lot of it because Italy is almost entirely surrounded by seas - the Med, Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Ionian. In this section you'll find Mandilli di Seta (Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Pesto) which is characteristic of Liguria because this best basil grows there. Also many, many seafood dishes like Fregola con Cozze (Sardinian Pasta with Mussels) which is a type of durum wheat pasta that looks like giant couscous, Tubetti con Vongole e Rucola (Tube pasta with Clams and Rocket) and Risotto con Gameretti e Fiori di Zucchini (Risotto with Prawns and Courgette Flowers.
I'll take a moment here to say how easy the recipes are to follow. The ingredients are clearly laid out in the top right or left hand corner and the recipes are barely a few steps long. I don't eat meat but I can see how it would be easy to adapt the meat with fish or a vegetable - like the lovely Orzotto con Spinaci e Macinato di Maiale (Pearl Barley with Spinach and Pork Mince) where you can simply leave out the pork or substitute with shrimps or peas for example.
More seafood is covered in the Islands section with the simple and healthy dishes I remember from my honeymoon in Sicily. We can't wait to try some of these on the barbecue as the weather warms up - such as Branzino agli Agrumi (Sea Bass with Citrus Fruit) and Insalata di Tonno Con Cipolle di Tropea (warm Tuna Salad with Sweet Red Onions) with a charcoal seared tuna steak.
Finally you have the Larder of the Rivers and Plains covering the River Po and the rice grown here. My daughter Amber was keen to try recipes from this section as she has just done a homework project on this river. She liked the look of the Risotto alla Zucca (Pumpkin Risotto) but opted to use thyme and rocket instead of pumkpin so I guess her version would be called Risotta al Timo e Rucola!
Rome is also covered in this last part where you'll find lots of lovely side dish recipes like Broccoletti Strascinati (Braised Broccoli) which is traditionally cooked in lard but we used olive oil.
We had this with Orata all Pugliese (Baked Fish with Potatoes) and it was a lovely combination.
There is no shortage of desserts and other sweet recipes in this book. There are ice creams and granitas like Gelato ai Lamponi e Limone (Raspberry and Lemon Ice Cream) and Granita di Gelsi (Mulberry Granita) to wondrous cakes such as Torta di Noccile (Hazelnut Cake) and Torta di Riso al Profumod'Arancio (Orange Rice Cake). I loved the latter. It was like a rice pudding in sliced cake form. Instead of orange I made a Lime and Coconut version using coconut milk and lime zest. Easy and filling.
I think this is a wondrous book and would like to thank the publishers for sending it to me to review. It's going to take pride of place on the kitchen bookshelf for me and Amber. We have post it notes on the recipes we have left to try (pretty much each page!).
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