cover image Simply Tuscan: Recipes for a Well-Lived Life

Simply Tuscan: Recipes for a Well-Lived Life

Pino Luongo. Broadway Books, $40 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-385-49290-4

Weaving poetry, culinary commentary and childhood reminiscences about his native Tuscany into this winsome collection of recipes, restaurateur Luongo (Fish Talking; A Tuscan in the Kitchen) introduces traditional Tuscan cuisine with thematic flourish. Chapters are organized by season, setting the stage for menus that include seasonal holidays and special occasions. For example, spring menus highlight ""Easter Lunch and Easter Dinner"" as well as the ""First Dinner with the In-Laws,"" while autumn features ""Fall's First Truffle Dinner"" and ""A Tuscan Thanksgiving Dinner."" Throughout, Luongo proffers anecdotes and a Tuscan worldview: on summer entertaining, ""Think of it as having a date with nature""; on men cooking: ""If a man can't cook in Tuscany, he has something to be ashamed of."" Devoid of elaborate explanations, recipes are refreshingly straightforward, taking a matter-of-fact approach to cooking. The traditional preparations emphasize handmade pastas and a prolific use of indigenous ingredients, including chestnuts, truffles, herbs, butter and various Italian cheeses. Dishes range from simple--Lamb Stew with Artichokes, Fusilli Salad with Swordfish and Grapefruit, Watermelon Granita--to such involved and elaborate recipes as Ravioli Filled with Pappa al Pomodoro (a tomato sauce) and Black Cabbage, and Sweet and Sour Boar with Chestnut Gnocchi. Luongo will charm readers into incorporating a bit of Tuscany into their workaday life. (Apr.)