BY RICK TRAMONTO
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
(Broadway Books) ISBN 978-0767927710 0767927710
Rick Tramonto is chef and owner of Osteria di Tramonto in Chicago. An osteria (Italian tavern) serves simple family-style home cooking along with local wines. Chef Tramonto's 276-page cookbook contains 150 delicious comfort food recipes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Some of his Italian recipes require long, slow cooking to develop intense flavors, like braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes. Other osteria recipes are fast to make, like grilled pork chops with broccoli rabe.
Sicilian street food
Each Osteria chapter begins with a list of recipes. Rick Tramonto introduces each chapter and recipe with memories of family recipes, like spumoni cookies, and foods enjoyed on trips to Italy, such as panelle (chickpea fritters) served as street food in Sicily.
Chef Tramonto adds tips and comments in colored sidebars to several recipes. For example, he describes Italian ingredients like Cerignolas (giant, jade-green, salty olives) and Castelvetranos (small, round, meaty, bright green olives).
What is aged balsamic vinegar?
Other sidebars provide background information on ingredients such as polenta (best made from stone-ground cornmeal cooked in stock), salmon (the differences between farmed and wild) and aged balsamic vinegar (Trebbiano grape juice cooked and reduced, then aged and oxidized in casks).
Color photos by Tim Turner accompany the recipes and look so delicious that they're almost edible!
Pairing Italian wines and food
Many recipes in Osteria include a Sommelier Recommends sidebar to help readers decide which wine to serve with each dish and provide information about Italian wines. For example, the Osteria di Tramonto sommelier suggests a Cortegiara Merlot wine, from Allegrini in the Veneto region of Italy, to pair with the stracci with red wine-braised duck.
Rick Tramonto includes family heirloom recipes from his Italian mother and grandmother, such as Florentine-style omelet, meatball salad and ricotta gnocchi.
The Sources section provides websites where readers can buy wild mushrooms, venison, stoneground grits and other ingredients.
Rick Tramonto's recipes
Frittata with oven-dried cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Blood orange crêpes with vanilla mascarpone. Peach vanilla smoothies. Parmesan crusted chicken pesto sandwich. Melted cheese panini with honey and mustard. Genoa ham and green olive tapenade sandwich. Butternut squash soup with chestnut honey mascarpone. Farro salad with guanciale and Medjool dates. Veal carpaccio. Heirloom beets with mascarpone and poppy seeds. Roast pepper and goat cheese pizza. Monkfish osso buco. Truffled garlic parmesan potato chips. Buffalo mozzarella with red bell pepper purée. Panna cotta with balsamic, strawberries and raspberries.
- Soups and salads
- Fish and seafood
- Poultry and meat
- Side dishes
- Sources - hard-to-find ingredients and equipment
Rick Tramonto and Mary Goodbody