This cookbook is the companion to the popular Extra Virgin television show starring actress Debi Mazar and her husband, Gabriele Corcos. I love watching the show as Debi and Gabriele let viewers get a glimpse of their life both in the U.S. and in Gabriele’s family home in Tuscany. Of course, since it is a cooking show, everything is centered around food, most often with an Italian flare- a nod to Gabriele’s heritage and cooking passion.
The friendly, conversational tone of the TV show carries over into this book. The authors take turns chatting about things like ingredients to keep on hand and life in Italy. Each recipe comes with an introduction, most often detailing how the dish is a part of their life, from a frequent family dinner to a cherished family recipe. I appreciate a cookbook like this, one that you can sit down and read almost like a memoir instead of just browsing recipe titles. It’s almost like you are sharing one of the fabulous meals that are showcased on the TV show with Debi and Gabriele, and they are talking about their food with you.
Most of the recipes are simple with easily accessible ingredients. A few things, like guanciale (cured pork jowl) and salted anchovies, are not readily available where I live, but there are plenty of other recipes that use “everyday” ingredients found at the grocery store or farmer’s market. There is a nice combination of quick weeknight meals and more elaborate weekend or celebration dishes. The directions are straight-forward and easy to understand. There are so many recipes that I want to try. Baked Pasta In Eggplant, Spicy Mussel Soup with Grilled Bread, and Speck, Pecorino and Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches are just a few of the recipes that I have bookmarked. As you might expect, there are plenty of pasta recipes sauced with everything from olive oil and garlic to a more elaborate duck ragu.
I received the hardcover version of this book to review and it is beautiful. Large and substantial with an interesting textured title band on the cover. The heirloom tomato salad on the cover is beautiful, as are all of the photos in this book. As a fan of the show, I loved to see the candid photos of Debi and Gabriele. They look so happy and in love. Not to mention Debi’s fabulous clothes. I wish I could get a peek into her closet! But even if vintage clothing doesn’t interest you, even if you have never seen the TV show on the Cooking Channel, you can still enjoy this cookbook with the family friendly recipes from their kitchen.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.