cover image The Tucci Cookbook

The Tucci Cookbook

Stanley Tucci, with Joan and Stan Tucci, and Gianni Scappin and Mimi Stanley Taft, foreword by Mario Batali. S&S/Gallery, $35 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4516-6125-5

Stanley Tucci, before The Lovely Bones, The Devil Wears Prada, and Julie & Julia, first wrote, directed, and starred in a small but brilliant film called Big Night, about Italian brothers who open a restaurant along the 1950s Jersey shore. That film inspired the cookbook Cucina & Famiglia, written by Tucci’s mother, Joan, and Gianni Scappin, then chef at New York City’s Le Madri. Now Tucci has written his own cookbook, along with his parents and Scappin. There are few surprises, but no matter, as Tucci’s recipes evoke the comforting, elegant simplicity of Italian home cooking. Writing about a “variation on the traditional prosciutto with melon,” Tucci recalls his father’s backyard fig trees and suggests draping a slice of prosciutto over a quartered fig. With each recipe, Tyler Coleman offers an accessible wine pairing (“bubbly and light white” for the fig recipe). There’s a risotto with butternut squash, lobster, and sage that Tucci remembers Scappin preparing for him while researching Big Night. For meat dishes, Tucci presents pork tenderloin with fennel and rosemary, as well as seared tuna with tomato and bread salad. And for dessert, the northern Italian staple polenta is combined with plums (though, as in his appetizer, Tucci suggests substituting figs). Finally, in keeping with the theme of Big Night, Tucci offers in this truly delightful cookbook a recipe for the timpano—drum of pasta—as well as a vegetarian version. (Oct.)