What are the holidays without a cookbook round-up? With new offerings from Lidia, Mario, Jacques, and my beloved Cook’s Illustrated, there’s a bounty for your favorite menu-maker.
Lidia Bastianich is back in her kitchen with Lidia’s Italy in America (Knopf), more than 175 recipes from Italian American centers throughout the country. From Baltimore Crab Cakes to Chicago’s Deep-Dish Pizza, New Orleans Muffuletta sandwich to New York’s Neopolitan Pizza, Lidia’s found the best this country has to offer. My favorite recipe reveals the secrets behind the time-honored Rainbow Cookies.
Mario Batali gathers “simple family meals” in Molto Batali (Ecco), a celebration of his favorite seasonal recipes for family festivities. Arranged by month, these mouth-watering meals include Escarole Soup (perfect for a chilly day), Nectarine and Black Pepper Cheesecake (just think about it!), Fettucine with Peas and Pancetta, and Braised Chicken with Sweet Onions and Parmigiano (mmm...”braised” anything.)
I’m thrilled watching Jacques Pepin in action, and Essential Pepin (Houghton Mifflin) collects more than 700 of his all-time favorite recipes (and includes a DVD of searchable cooking techniques). Roast Turkey with Mushroom Stuffing, Mussels Gratine, Grilled Steak with Lemon-Thyme Butter, Leeks in Bechamel Gratin, Iced Grand Marnier Souffle — imagine what the other 695 recipes are like! This is a must for every cook’s library.
Move over Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, and Fannie Farmer...a new cookbook bible has been born. Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook (America’s Test Kitchen) has collected over 2,000 tried and tested recipes from 20 years of my favorite cooking magazine. Whether you’re a neophyte or seasoned chef, these fabulous recipes will quickly enter your kitchen lexicon. Open to any page, and you’ll find the best recipe that the wonderful chefs at America’s Test Kitchen could foolproof — Country-Style Potato-Leek Soup, Turkey Tetrazzini, Chicken Saltimbocca, Steak Frites, Classic Frittata, and hundreds more, all presented with the unique Cook’s Illustrated style.
— Chris Avena