My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South

Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher, Norton, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-06516-9
Recipes such as sagne chine (Calabrese lasagne), vruocculi ca' savuzuizza (sausage and broccoli rabe), and pipi 'mpajanati (sweet pepper fritters) highlight this brilliant, comprehensive cookbook by Calabrian-born Costantino (who now resides in Northern California) and Fletcher (cookbook author and San Francisco Chronicle columnist). And while the region is hardly undiscovered, as the subtitle suggests (there have been several book in recent years on the region, and it's a favorite vacation spot for northern Europeans), Costantino certainly digs deep into the cuisine, highlighting authentic recipes along with an insightful narrative. She offers recipes for pane calabrese, a thick-crusted bread with a soft, tangy middle that the region takes pride in: homemade ricotta cheese and swordfish rolls with breadcrumb stuffing. She offers explanations on Calabrese meats (soppressatta, spalla, salsiccia, 'nduja), cheeses (butirro, caciocavallo), pastas (cannaruozzoli, scilatelli, and the Arbëresh, or Albanian-influenced, couscous), as well as an entire chapter on preserves, such as fresh fig jam; mushrooms in oil with hot peppers (ubiquitous throughout Calabria), fennel and garlic; and a liqueur made from mandarin oranges. Costantino's cookbook offers home cooks a delightful journey along the toe of Italy's boot. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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