The normal cooking book for me, is one from a renowned chef
or one that has a very chef like looking individual gracing
the book's cover. However having spent part of my culinary
life maturing in an Italian kitchen, I find myself more than
a little drawn to publications from Italian Chefs. My admission
must be that after a year and a half in that kitchen, I feel
that I have a strong enough background to gauge Italian culinary
If you love real Italian cooking, food that is presented
in its most natural state, then Nick Stellino's Passione is
for you. The book features Pasta, Pizza and Panini recipes.
Each of these three food types are broken down into their
relative chapters with a modest introduction to each, a bounty
of tips and a few of Nick's personal culinary philosophies.
The pasta section filled in some blanks of where my chef of
yesteryear's English fell short (not that I am knocking anyone's
English). Other tips reinforced the lessons of my younger
Pasta; Pappardelle with Lamb Sauce, not the usual pairing
with pasta but this dish erupted with flavor. Papardelle is
a much under used pasta in many kitchens. Scallop Tortellini
with Pea Sauce and, very elegant. Risotto and gnocchi recipes
additionally fall in to this section of the book.
Pizza; this chapter starts with a simple pizza base recipe
and progresses from the more straight forward style of pizza
to the sophisticated. The Pizza with Roasted Eggplant, Sausage
and Provolone works really well.
Panini; it is a tough call to say which is better the
panini or its Latino cousin the Cuban sandwich. The Prosciutto
Sandwich with Mint, Mascapone and Parmesan, certainly puts
an interesting twist in to the equation.
The recipes are well laid out, and after several were put
through their paces in our test kitchens (we have two, a professional
kitchen and a home kitchen) they were found to be accurate,
easy to follow, not requiring a ton of prep and - very tasty.
Woven throughout the book are some of Nick Stellino's reminiscent
culinary memories. This I would normally find a little nauseating,
however his execution of these stories is anything but that,
quite inspirational in fact.
Nick Stellino's Passione: Pasta, Pizza, and Panini is a more
than worthy addition to any culinary library. It is set out
for home use but I feel has great inspirational potential
for the work place too.....