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Il bisogno si conosce l'amico.

You know a true friend when in need.

by Sarah Lagrotteria


With the holiday bustle in full gear, it’s the perfect time to peruse the bookshelves for a new cookbook. Even if you don’t like trying new recipes for holiday entertaining, we definitely recommend unwinding by reading one of these new books while your tried-and-true recipes simmer on the stovetop. You may get some new cooking ideas for the new year. Regardless, you are in for a great read. Below are Mario’s personal picks for the cookbooks that best lend themselves to holiday reading.

Cooking By Hand
by Paul Bertolli

Formerly of Chez Panisse and now the Chef/Owner of Oliveto restaurant in Oakland, CA, Paul Bertolli’s gorgeous new book is perfect one for cookbook readers, and a bible for those who support the idea that your finished product is only as good as the ingredients with which you began. Included are not only his beautiful recipes, but also essay-length meditations on tomatoes, pasta making and perhaps the authoritative discussion on Italian salumi and salumi production.

I Am Almost Always Hungry:Seasonal Menus and Memorable Recipes
By Lora Zarubin

Bound to make you laugh (not to mention salivate) this collection of recipes is part urban memoir, part cookbook. Zarubin’s decidely New York stories will tickle locals and out-of-towners alike. And the recipes are often a perfect blend of luxury and everyday…..Shaved Black Truffles on Toast, anyone?

Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cusine
By Marcus Samuelsson

With its large format and vivid photographs, this is a book to sit and pore over. Samuelsson is the product of a unique background (Ethiopian-born and raised in Sweden), and the combination of his inspirations translate to singularly spectacular creations, often centering on seafood, Scandinavian-style. Salmon comes tandoori-smoked or glazed with a wasabi sabayon; char is hot-smoked with lemon broth. Also included are simple desserts, breads and snacks.

Tom Valenti’s Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals: 125 Home recipes from the Chef-Owner of New York City’s Ouest and ‘Cesca.
By Tom Valenti and Andrew Friedman

There isn’t a recipe in the book that doesn’t scream to be made. Valenti and Friedman right with a familiar tone that sautis the honey, slow-cooked masterpieces in this collection. The recipes are simple, yet yield complex, mellow, luxurious versions of classics (beef brisket) and new renditions (turkey soup with stuffed dumplings). It’s all good.