The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook by Don Baratta
The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook is a son's tribute to his the father, "The Old Man" -- an Old World gent renowned as much for his cooking as for his delightful stories and outrageous claims. By the time you've finished reading his book you may not be convinced that Sicilians are responsible for chicken soup, rice, and pasta (as the Old Man claims) but you may well believe they invented laughter.
The writing style is relaxed and conversational. The recipes -- more than 160 -- combine Sicilian and American influences and include antipasto and salads; vegetables; soups and stews; pasta and sauces; seafood; poultry and meat; and sweets.
The dishes are all simple, authentic, and delicious:
- A Meatloaf Like No Other (combines Italian sausage, pine nuts, olives and wine)- Shellfish Marinara 1, 2, and 3 (each a distinct version)
- Pasta with Polpette (Sicilian meatballs that have a flattened oval shape, much like a stepped-on football. Odd they may look, but they're never tough since you need brown only two sides)
- Pasta with Beans, Pasta with Artichokes, Pasta with Cauliflower, Pasta with Eggplant
- An abundance of recipes for chicken and for fish -- and one for chicken with fish (plus a handful of dried figs)
- Traditional veal dishes
Desserts that include holiday pastries, a ricotta pie, and a Sicilian rice pudding
Readers not familiar with Sicilian cooking are in for a treat. The food of the Mediterranean's largest island was influenced by the people who conquered it. From the Arabs and Moors come stuffed vegetables and the use of dried fruits and pine nuts. From the Greeks come olive oil and lemon. It is a simpler cuisine than that of the north, emphasizing leaner ingredients. For Sicilians, seafood is more important than meat, and lamb is more likely to be seen on the table than is pork.
The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook is filled with all the warmth, love, and happiness of the home that the Old Man created. The recipes are generously garnished with anecdotes and old-world philosophy.