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Cookbook 1: The Splendid Table


The New Year got me thinking about new posts. Since this year will be the year my own cookbook hits shelves, I started reflecting on some of my all time favorite cookbooks…ah ha! That would make a great weekly post! I know all of you feel as passionately about your cookbook collections, so I’ll give you my cookbook collection notes, and you give me yours! I truly hope my cookbook becomes everyone’s favorite go to cookbook when entertaining, that would be super cool. So here we go. Week one…let the count down begin…

I have always collected cookbooks. Encouraged and and cheered on by my darling husband, Frank, over the years I now have a very healthy cookbook collection. I am happy to say I have read them all cover to cover. As I can now call myself a cookbook author, {my cookbook “Picture Perfect Parties” hits shelves this October from Rizzoli New York} I feel it’s my duty as an avid cookbook collector to give you some notes on what to buy and why for your own cookbook collection. I will be picking books out of my own collection, so look for my NOTES every week. I would love to hear about some of your favorites. I would love this weekly post to become a virtual book club with lively discussion and your own cookbook notes. Come on leave comments and let’s dish.

My Cookbook Note number 1.

It would make sense that one of my all time favorite cookbooks would be Italian. The Splendid Table By, Lynne Rossetto Kasper is by far the best Italian cookbook of all time in my opinion. I got it as a gift from my husband in 1992. It was one of my first cookbooks. This culinary tome is not only chocked full of incredible stories of the origin of recipes, but it hails from the most delicious part of Italy the Emilia-Romagna.

There are fantastic explanations of the origin of shaped pasta like tortellini. The description alone in the Pasta Chapter Introduction, “Of Sacred Navels, Priest Stranglers, and the Paradise of the Poor” is enough to wet your appetite. This chapter takes you on a food journey through 14th century Emilia-Romangna and how pasta played it’s part.

Lynne above all is a great chef and a story teller {what a combination}. Her extremely popular radio show of the same name is genius and so is this cookbook. It’s a great read about food, history and it’s impact on the people of the time. If you don’t have it in your collection, I think you should. Make a note and add it.

Valentino’s Pizza from The Splendid Table
serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz puff pastry
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions – thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup imported Italian shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

    Garnish with fresh Italian parsly leaves

    Method:

  • Prepare the Pastry:> Roll out the sheet of puff pastry very thin and fit into a greased 11 1/2 by 17 1/2in jelly roll pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork and freeze for at least 2 hours. Preheat the over to 400, setting the rack to the lowest position possible. Bake for 5 minutes, prick again, and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Until pale gold. Remove and let cool.

  • Prepare the Filling: While the pastry is baking, melt the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook over high heat stirring often, 10 minutes or until golden. Stir in the carrots and cook another 3 minutes, scraping up any brown glaze at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half. Cool slightly, and then add half of the Fontina and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Baking and Serving: Spread the vegetable mixture evenly over the crust. Top with the remaining cheeses and bake at 400 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted but not browned. Sprinkle with the parsley leaves and cut into small squares. Serve hot.


    To buy this book: The Splendid Table, By Lynne Rossetto Kasper

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