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Urban Italian


mjc
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I picked this book up yesterday. I am a big fan of Carmellini's cooking, while he was at A Voce, it was my favorite restaurant. (I haven't been back since he left.) I am eagerly anticipating his next restaurant. I was very excited though, that in the meantime, I heard he was coming out with a book and when I saw it in the store yesterday, I couldn't resist.

It starts out with a pretty good and interesting stories that influenced his development as a chef. As is the case with many people, as a young man he was surprised to discover in Italy that the "real" Italian food of America, was something quite different than that made in Italy.

It features some of his signature dishes from A Voce, like the Duck Meatballs and his Gnocchi. After checking out the recipe, I now know why the duck meatballs were so good. He labels his gnocchi recipe "The Best Gnocchi", and at A Voce they certainly were. They were the lightest gnocchi I ever had and I have been trying to find a recipe like that for awhile. I can't wait to try it.

Does anyone else had this book? Have you made anything from it yet?

p.s. Over at the feedbaghttp://www.the-feedbag.com/ they've got Carmellini on video doing some of the recipes from the book.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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I read this post yesterday, watched the videos at the Feedbag, then went out to Borders and picked up the book. I proceeded to read the entire thing, salivate heavily, and have an extremely hard time deciding what to make first. I think I've decided on the chicken leg cacciatore, with a side of the spinach, chickpeas, and ricotta salata. I'll report back.

ETA: I think what struck me most about this book was the humor, along with the top-notch writing. More than I expected.

Edited by MikeHartnett (log)
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I made the chicken cacciatore and spinach with fried chickpeas and ricotta salata last night. Both were fantastic. I grew up eating the gloppy, boring red sauce cacciatore that AC references in the book, and this was miles away from that. Simple to make, with tons of depth and layers. Tomato sauce full of oniony sweetness, a hint of fennel, briny olives, all piled on a juicy, brined piece of chicken thigh. The crispy chickpeas on the spinach pushed the meal over the edge-- I'm hooked on this book.

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Those dishes sound great Mike. Thanks for sharing. Keep us updated with what else you make.

I was thinking about making the duck meatballs for thanksgiving, but I don't think I'll have time to assemble all of the ingredients this week. I'll try to make the gnocchi over the weekend and report back.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Of all the books I have got in the last few months (incl. Alinea/Fat Duck/Under Pressure), this is the one I will probably use the most. I like Carmellini's style of food and prose, and obviously the food is far more family friendly than the others, which clearly have their place in my library. They just won't get as foodstained.

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Made the butternut squash tortelloni last night. It was very good, and fairly simple if you spread out making the filling and the pasta. Tortelloni shaping is a pain in the butt though (too tedious), and I'll probably make ravioli with the leftover filling.

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  • 1 month later...

Maybe a bit nit-picky, but looking at the seafood risotto recipe, it is nothing like the accompanying photo. The risotto in the photo obviously has squid and saffron in it (never mentioned in the recipe) and has no sign of the called for mussels.

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Chef Carmellini was interviewed yesterday on WNYC Radio's Leonard Lopate Show about the new book. Here's a link where you can listen. Oh, and they have also posted a list of his favorite places to shop for Italian ingredients in New York City.

Enjoy!

purplechick

"No verse can give pleasure for long, nor last, that is written by

water drinkers." --Cratinus, 5th Century BCE, Athens

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Chef Carmellini was interviewed yesterday on WNYC Radio's Leonard Lopate Show about the new book.  Here's a link where you can listen.  Oh, and they have also posted a list of his favorite places to shop for Italian ingredients in New York City.

Enjoy!

Thanks for the tip Purplechick.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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While I didn't care for the prose (and stopped reading the intro about 1/2 the way through), I can't wait to try the potato gnocchi recipe. I appreciate the attention to detail and believe I now know the reason why my 2nd attempt at Batali's gnocchi failed miserably (let the potatoes cool too much before mixing the dough). The duck meatballs also sound wonderful.

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So I tried the gnocchi recipe on Saturday. Not entirely successful, but this was my first try ever at making them and I thnk the problems can be corrected. I think the key to the recipe is one's interpretation of the direction to mix the ingredients until "just" incorporated. This is what I did, mixing for probably 30 seconds (compared to 4 minutes suggested in the Babbo cookbook, although Batali also uses a higher proportion of potato to egg). This was too short a kneading and the first batch of gnocchi fell apart when cooked according to the directions. I adjusted the cooking time to pull them almost as soon as they surfaced and got an OK result. They were far far lighter than any gnocchi I've had in a restaurant, but still too close to turning to mush. I will try them again with a longer kneading.

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I made the gnocchi too and was relatively pleased with the way they came out. They were incredibly light, similar to what I remember at A Voce.

The directions say to stir only enough to combine, but then it also says "Work the mixture into a smooth ball". So you do need to do a some kneading.

gallery_7926_2631_52949.jpg

Even so the mass you get, isn't all that smooth. When I was rolling out the "snakes" sometimes the dough would fall apart a little, so I just kneaded them some more.

gallery_7926_2631_53795.jpg

I made a short rib Ragu, with some left over braised short ribs I had, for the gnocchi.

gallery_7926_2631_41042.jpg

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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I'm glad I found this thread! I had a 15%off coupon for B&N (on top of the 20% membership off) and got me this gem. Really a great book, I love it when there are little personal introductions to recipes. I have the feeling that I'll be making quite a bit from this book, still have the pasta machine on the counter from something else, think I'll start in that direction.

As a side note, can somebody recommend a good Lambrusco that one can find in the US? The introduction chapter made me long for a cold glass of good italian allround wine to enjoy the summerly temps we have here (SF bay area) already!

Thanks!

Oliver

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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