cover image Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors

Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors

Nick Stellino. Putnam Adult, $25.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14266-6

Stellino, the host of the PBS series Cucina Amore, has arranged a solid yet stolid collection of familiar recipes from the Mediterranean, with a distinct Italian bias. With recipe headers and introductions to the chapters that exhibit the chef's trademark exuberance, this book is sure to appeal to fans of his show. Appetizers include Tunisian Stewed Potatoes with paprika and cardamom and Tuna and White Bean Spread on Garlic Toast with a dash of Tabasco. Pastas like Pasta Alfredo, Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Ricotta and Romano Cheese, and Spaghetti and Meatballs are virtuously simple but surprisingly predictable and are not among the pasta dishes that Stellino claims have been influenced by non-Italian cuisines. Other national traditions are more apparent in main dishes like Mediterranean Shepherd's Pie (the mashed potato topping has Romano cheese incorporated), Moussaka, and Ginger Tuna. Vegetable side dishes are simple, and Stellino also includes some more unusual accompaniments like Chickpeas with Mint and Tomatoes, Couscous Spinach Pilaf, and a yeast-free Sardinian Cracker Bread. Desserts such as Strawberries in Marsala with Sweetened Ricotta and Coffee Cheesecake round out these reliable, though unexceptional selections. (Mar.)