November 19, 2014
Cicchetti by Lindy Wildsmith
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
Anyone who knows me know that Italian food is my passion. I've never had the privilege of visiting Venice, but I was excited to dig into this book and find out more about their cuisine, or at least a portion of it. I knew we were off to a good start immediately when I fell in love with Gratinata di Peoci (Gratin of Mussels). This is classic Italian cuisine. Simple recipe, few ingredients, but emphasis on QUALITY ingredients. For instance, this recipe calls for a tomato, cut in half, de-seeded, drained and cut into tiny dice, but it also tells you to leave it out when they're out of season. Out of season tomatoes just do not have the same flavor, and it will pull down the quality of the dish. Polenta Fritta con lo Stracchino (Deep-fried Polenta Sticks with Stracchino Cheese), Polpettine di Melanzane (Eggplant Patties), Polpettine di Manzo (Beef Meatballs--includes riced potatoes and sopressa or speck. Yum!), and more whet the appetite for Venetian cuisine. Now I need to find a more extensive cookbook on Venetian Cuisine.
But wait! There's more! From Venice we move to the other regions of Italy and sample their goodies. How about Pan-fried Hazelnuts from Abruzzo & Molise, Calabrian Ricotta Pizza, Fish Empanadas from Sardinia or Mini Bread Rolls with Garlic & Anchovies from Tuscany. Ah, and then there's my favorite. Sicily!! I fell in love with Arancini, fried rice balls, on my very first trip to Sicily. Most recipes I find in cookbooks for arancini are for the ones with ragu inside, but my absolute favorites are the ones with mozzarella, pecorino and prosciutto. Included in this cookbook is Arancini di Riso con al Mozzarella (Fried Rice Balls with Mozzarella) which are extremely close. Just add a little pecorino cheese (young pecorino such as Primo Sale, or Pecorino Toscana)and a little chopped prosciutto and there you have it--the best arancini around! Also included are Panelle (Chickpea Fritters) like we ate from the street vendors in Palermo. Delizioso!
This is a gorgeous cookbook full of beautiful, full-color photos, delightful recipes and interesting information on the different cuisines of the different regions of Italy. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to all.
I received a copy of this book from Race Point Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.