Cucina Amore, the long-running and popular PBS series featuring energetic hosts and self-proclaimed ""real eaters"" Carrabba and Mandola, has a worthy offshoot in this glossy, enthusiastic cookbook. The flavors of Sicily blend with those of Texas and the South, Cajun and Creole, in inventive dishes from the homey (Refried Cannellini Beans and Mamma's Zucchini Gialli Gratinati, or squash casserole) to the sophisticated (Pan-Seared Quail with Andouille and a Wild Mushroom Tart). But the focus is on hearty comfort foods, from soups to stews to creamy desserts. Throughout, the ""two big Sicilian boys from Texas"" provide straightforward and thorough directions to assembling a classic Sunday Gravy, crafting Sfinci (little Sicilian doughnuts) and even roasting garlic and blanching vegetables. Family photos and quotes from the duo make the cookbook (which is itself full of family recipes) feel a little bit like a family album: ""Mamma Mandola, Damian's mom, was really good with tomatoes,"" notes Carrabba, while Mandola explains that Baccalaru Cefalutana, a salt cod with stewed tomatoes, was named after his grandparents' Sicilian hometown of Cefalu The recipes aren't for the calorie conscious, but they're diverse and almost uniformly pleasing. 120 photographs.
Reviewed on: 01/01/2003 Release date: 01/01/2003 Genre: Nonfiction