cover image Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen

Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen

Nick Stellino. Putnam Publishing Group, $27.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14533-9

This collection of more than 100 original recipes is not intended to magically create a sophisticated cook. Instead, Stellino, host of PBS's Cucina Amore, sets a friendly tone for his fourth cookbook (after Cucina Amore and Nick Stellino's Glorious Italian Cooking), celebrating pleasures like shopping in an open market and singing off-key. Stellino's recipes, as promised, are simple and served with cheerful asides about Stellino's family and Sicilian culture. Even straightforward recipes like Pasta with Sausage and Mushrooms read seductively, with ingredients such as white wine and fresh sage, rosemary, basil and parsley. The thorough directions and ""chef's tips"" are cogent and memorable. In his recipe for Pasta with Black Squid Sauce, for example, Stellino reveals the secret of extracting the squid's non-edible gift: ""To obtain the ink, remove the slender silver ink sac from the strands connected to the tentacles."" Desserts, such as the indulgent Ricotta Cake with Coffee and Chocolate, tend to be unapologetically comforting rather than showy. Other favorites include Heavenly Tiramis , and Chicken Scalloppine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Peas. Recipes are followed with menu suggestions for creating simple though unusual flavor combinations. Author tour. (Oct.)