EXTRA VIRGIN by Gabriele Corcos And Debi Mazar REVIEWED

Extra Virgin
By Gabriele Corcos
And Debi Mazar
Published by: Clarkson Potter
272 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: DEBI MAZAR and GABRIELE CORCOS are ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. In Extra Virgin, food, family, and style come together in a celebration of the pleasures of the rustic Italian table with 120 recipes for simple yet exquisite meals that are accessible, full of fresh flavor, and easy to prepare. Gabriele is a traditional Italian with a big heart, and Debi is an outgoing, brash New York City girl. Their sassy and playful exchanges illuminate what’s important in everyday life: good food and a lot of love.

Ranging from traditional antipasti and soups to their spin on entrees, pizzas, and desserts, recipes include Pecorino and Honey Dip, a sweet and salty way to start a meal; tangy, luscious Grilled Apricots with Goat Cheese Ricotta, inspired by wild Tuscan apricot trees; and Sausage and Beans, which offers hints of fennel in a Tuscan red sauce. Here, too, are Braised Artichokes softened in guanciale-infused oil, Breakfast Pizza, and Coffee Granita just as Italians make it.

So flag these recipes, get sauce on them, let splashes of olive oil mark the pages—and invite Debi and Gabriele’s charisma and passion for cooking to spill into your kitchen.

Review: I was pleasantly surprised when I received the review copy of this book. First of all I didn't realized this was the couple that has a cooking show on T.V. called Extra Virgin. Second, I loved all the color pictures and the recipes. They reminded me of food I had growing up in an Italian family. I was thrilled to learn of these lighter ways of cooking these wonderful meals.

I enjoyed hearing Gabriele and Debi’s story about growing up and their relationship with food. Debi says, “…New Yorkers talk about where your street could be a meeting place not just for people, but for aromas from seemingly all corners of the earth. There would be friend chicken from one window, spicy island dishes from another, and down the block something garlicky and peppery wafting out of an Italian’s houses. And all that might be in the air while I was thinking about the dinner I was about to have in China Town….

When Debi turned 8 years old they moved to upstate N.Y….”We had neighbors in Woodstock who were form Northern Italy and it was at their house that I had my first taste of freshly made pasta, which was always hanging over drying racks…I always adored Italian cuisine and it’s well-honed use of ingredients…but meeting and falling for Gabriele, I discovered how much great food also comes from a desire to feed the ones you love.”

Gabriele says, “The recipes collected here represent my deep, abiding love for how Tuscan’s approach cooking. It’s a region devoted to honoring fresh, natural ingredients using them sparingly but wisely, cooking them with respect they deserve and letting their flavor shine…Tuscan food is a language all to itself, and teaching that language as I was taught it by my family is what I hope to do with this book.”

I like when Gabriele says, “I don’t believe good food needs to be expensive, or time-consuming. It doesn’t even always have to be one hundred percent handmade, especially when more and more grocery stores offer plenty of quality ingredients and prepared items.”
They introduce themselves then they talk about the Tuscan Kitchen Essentials. Things that you should include in your pantry and refrigerator. Then they talk about cooking tools/appliances/vessels. In this section Debi says, “We are big believers in spending money on great ingredients over expensive gadgets…”

The Chapters of this book are as follows Appetizers, Pasta and sauces, Risotto, Soups, Meat, Fish, Vegetables, Pizza, Panini, Desserts, Drinks.

There are beautiful color pictures throughout the book. There are pictures of food and some of Gabrielle and Debi cooking and times with their family. It’s a fun combination. This book is not for beginners. You don't have to be a Chef to use and enjoy this book but they expect this to not be your first rodeo. Grin!

Eggplant Parmesan
They each have something to say before each section for example: Pasta and Sauces. Debi says,”Gabriele and I believe that pasta brings a family together at meal time like no other food. We get so much enjoyment out of the looks on our daughters faces when we dig into their favorite pastas that sometimes it feels like that bow of shells, and pesto, or penne and red sauce, is as Italian a way of saying, “I love you” as blurting out “Ti Amo!” Gabriele says, “Pasta is at the heart of so many of our fondest memories.”

Shrimp & Zucchini Risotto
I liked the variety of dishes in this book. Most meals look like they can be made easily and some meals are for those days you have more time to prepare dinner than others (for example making hand made pasta). The dishes I made were Baked Pasta in Eggplant  Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto, Eggplant Parmesan, (I love eggplant and the picture of this in the book- mine almost looked like the book Grin!) Sausage and beans (my family loves sausage) and Carnival Rice Fritters -fun dessert!

I loved getting to know the personalities behind the show Extra Virgin and I LOVED these dishes. I can’t wait to make more of them. They reminded me of the Italian dishes I ate growing up. I liked that they were made with fresh ingredients and healthier. This is a beautiful hard back book with yummy recipes inside and fun chefs to hang out with. You'll enjoy reading this book as much as making the wonderful recipes inside. This book is a keeper or can be given as a gift. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Rice Fritters

You can connect with these authors below
At the Extra Virgin Cooking Channel website


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