Synopses & Reviews
Frank Stitt's Bottega restaurant and café in Birmingham, Alabama, "combines Southern cooking ideology and Italian tradition to craft a new style of eating," says Mario Batali, which is why "I think it is one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy." The dishes are "never precious, always inventive" (The New York Times
): a lima bean and orzo soup with escarole, a pork scaloppini with greens and polenta, a capellini gratin.
Bottega was born from Stitt's lifelong passion for Italy's food and way of life. From his travels, the beloved Southern chef has brought home the rustic simplicity of Italian cuisine and added his own ingenious twists, like the Tabasco sauce he uses to spike a dish of Potato Ravioli with Crawfish and Candied Lemon or the tomato chutney in the Roasted Sweet Pepper Pizza. As one of the South's earliest supporters of regional producers, Stitt makes ample use of local ingredients, inspiring the reader to do the same: "There's no pompano in Venice, but ours, fresh from Apalachicola makes a great cartoccio [baked in a parchment bag]," Stitt writes. "Our Chilton County white peaches make a great bellini."
This deliciously appealing new cookbook--with more than 200 recipes--includes the best of the Southern-influenced Italian dishes Stitt has served at Bottega for the last two decades. It's all here. From such signature appetizers as Charred Onion Dip, Parmesan Soufflés, and Crabmeat Bruschetta to delicious crisp-crusted pizzas that infuse Italian classics with American inventiveness.
Freshness and simplicity are key, so expect beautiful salads and pastas, as well as main courses with clean tastes, such as the Duck with Peaches and Moscato or the Tuscan Porterhouse with Lemon, Olive Oil, and Arugula. Bottega's famous dessert menu is also well represented, with recipes such as Zabaglione Meringue Cake, Coconut Pecan Cake, and a simple Warm Cream Cheese Tart with Cinnamon and Almonds.
It could be said that Italians and Alabamians share a love of food that is unadorned. Whether it's ground corn, bitter greens, beans, cured pork, or the day's catch, both cultures respect ingredients for what they are, not for what they might be. And it's this purity of vision that's the hallmark of Stitt's cooking, for which he has been honored with so many awards.
Accompanied by anecdotes from Stitt's many journeys to Italy, this inspiring and accessible cookbook proves once again why the novelist Pat Conroy calls Stitt "the best chef in America."
There are some places worth traveling to just for the food: Rome, Venice . . . and now, Birmingham, Italy.
In this companion to his first, best-selling cookbook, the beloved Southern chef Frank Stitt travels to Italy and brings the best of Mediterranean cuisine back home. To Stitt's mind, the two regions—Italy and the American South—share commonalities. Both native cuisines have a tradition of turning humble ingredients—ground corn, bitter greens, cured pork, the daily catch—into poetry on the plate. And as the chef points out in his lively introduction to the book, this is elemental cooking based on the purity and simplicity of the freshest and finest ingredients.
Yet leave it to Stitt to make Italian cuisine his own. "There's no Pompano in Venice, but ours, fresh from Apalachicola, fits into the cartoccio (Italian fish stew) perfectly; our Chilton County white peaches are squeezed by hand for a bellini; our wild Gulf shrimp, oysters, crab, and fish are easily a match for their Mediterranean equivalents," Stitt writes. This appealing new cookbook includes the best of the Southern-influenced Italian recipes he has served at his Birmingham, Alabama, restaurant Bottega Restaurant and Café, for the last two decades—the Tomato Chutney and Roasted Sweet Pepper Pizza, Lamb Shanks with Sweet Peas and Mint, and fabulous desserts including Zabaglione Meringue Cake. Accompanied by sweet recollections of his journeys to Italy, this inspiring and accessible cookbook proves once again why the novelist Pat Conroy calls Stitt "the best chef in America."
In this companion to his first, bestselling cookbook, beloved Southern chef Stitt travels to Italy and brings the best of Mediterranean cuisine back home. This appealing new cookbook includes the best of the Southern-influenced Italian recipes he has served at his Birmingham, Alabama, restaurant for the last two decades.
About the Author
Frank Stitt is the chef and owner of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant and Café, and Chez Fonfon, all located in Birmingham, Alabama. He has won the James Beard Award for the Best Chef of the Southeast and was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s "Who's Who of Food and Beverage" in 2011. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance for his elevation of Southern cuisine and his early advocacy of locally-grown food. He is the author of Frank Stitt's Southern Table and Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita.
Table of Contents
Cin Cin! And Cheers!
Soups, Salads, Pizzas, and Piadine
Fish and Shellfish
Poultry and Meats
Vegetables, Rice, Farro, and Polenta