Synopses & Reviews
The star of NBC's reality show The Restaurant
dishes up the mouthwatering Italian classics that made his TV show and eateries so hot.
A delicious collection of timeless family recipes--including Mamma's Meatballs--from culinary superstar Rocco DiSpirito!
Superstar chef Rocco DiSpirito made a name for himself by taking flavor where it had never gone before. But this decorated chef who blazed through the Culinary Institute of America and burst onto New York's fine dining scene--landing himself on the cover of Gourmet--actually honed his taste buds on the timeless Italian recipes handed down through his family for generations. Rocco's Italian-American lifts the lid on these age-old meals and shares their secrets, as well as the histories and family traditions that go along with them.
More than just a cookbook, Rocco's Italian-American is a celebration of the family recipes and experiences of one immigrant family in New York and is sure to become a classic. It is also filled with the wisdom of Rocco's Mamma, who is beloved by the millions who know her from her television appearances.
Each delicious recipe includes a personal note on the dish, a story associated with it, or a variation preferred by certain relatives. The book is organized by parts of the meal (antipasto, soup, pasta, fish, meat, salad, bread, sweets, and holiday menus). Rocco describes the techniques of the Italian-American kitchen and instructs on the indispensable ingredients, such as tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and beans. The book is lavishly illustrated with (old and new) photos and other artifacts and mementos from his family's treasure chest, including maps, handwritten recipes, and childhood drawings.
Now for the first time, Rocco shares his favorite family recipes, including:
- Mamma's Meatballs
- Mamma's Frittata
- Sardines with Fennel and Orange
- Farfalle with Grilled Sausage, Fennel, and Baby Artichoke
- Rabbit Cacciatore
- Red Snapper and Heirloom Tomatoes Poached in Olive Oil
- Asparagus with Besciamella
- Poached Cherries with Ricotta Gelato and Toasted Pandoro
"DiSpirito, who lent his name and career to Rocco's, the restaurant that was the subject of the NBC reality show The Restaurant, offers utterly familiar Italian-American recipes. On television, DiSpirito hired his mother as top meatball maker; here he provides Mama's Meatballs and a host of other dishes he ate while growing up. The most interesting reading is actually DiSpirito's mother's autobiographical essay, which includes the story of how she came to move to Queens from Italy when she was 24, in the late 1940s. In his own essay, DiSpirito repeats some of the same information. (His mother 'had overcome monumental challenges for us.') DiSpirito's writing is clunky, with obvious statements such as 'Soup is, hands down, the most comforting, restorative food a person can eat, as far as I am concerned.' Recipes, which include active time and total time required, tend to the mundane, such as Shrimp Scampi and Linguine with Clams. Some chapters are oddly short, such as a Parmigiana chapter with only three recipes, and one on eggs, which also consists of just three dishes. A master recipe for homemade pasta would be difficult for a novice to follow, and Baked Sausage and Nutella Panini is simply misguided. This is a disappointing follow-up to DiSpirito's far superior Flavor. Photos. Forecast: This will get a boost from a Today show appearance, although DiSpirito's current status (as a kitchenless chef, after the recent closing of Rocco's and his firing from Union Pacific, his other Manhattan eatery), could negatively affect sales." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A delicious collection of timeless family recipes--including Mamma's Meatballs--from culinary superstar Rocco DiSpirito.
The culinary star of NBC's hit reality show "The Restaurant" dishes up this delicious collection of timeless family recipes--including Mamma's Meatballs--that made his eateries and television show so hot. Full color.
Superstar chef Rocco DiSpirito of the NBC reality show "The Restaurant" dishes up the mouthwatering Italian classics that made his TV show and eateries so hot. Each dish in this delicious, illustrated collection of timeless family recipesQwhich includes Mamma's MeatballsQis served up with a personal note, a story associated with it, or a variation preferred by certain relatives. 0-7868-6857-0$24.95 / Time Warner Book Group
About the Author
Rocco DiSpirito, chef and proprietor of Manhattan's Union Pacific and Rocco's restaurants, attended the Culinary Institute of America at age 16, then studied at the Jardin de Cygne in Paris for two years. In 1988 he went to work at the Adrienne, then later became chef de partie at Aujourd'hui in Boston, and eventually returned to New York, where he worked with David Bouley, Gilbert LeCoze, and Gray Kunz before joining Lespinasse's opening team. In 1997, DiSpirito opened Union Pacific, where the "poetry and complexity" of his dishes earned three stars from the New York Times. He became a star this past summer when NBC aired the reality show The Restaurant, which is now in its second season, and he is the author of the cookbook Flavor, nominated for a 2004 James Beard Award. Rocco DiSpirito lives in New York City.