by Joan T. Tucci (Author), Gianni Scappin (Author)
The best Italian food is prepared and enjoyed at home. Understanding this and the profound connection between food and Italian family life, Joan Tropiano Tucci (mother of Stanley Tucci, producer and star of the food-movie hit Big Night) and chef Gianni Scappin (who coached Stanley in food-making for the film) have created Cucina & Famiglia, a celebration of multi-generational Italian home cooking. With food writer Mimi Shanley Taft, they present 200 accessible recipes for every course of an Italian meal, while providing glimpses of the family life from which they and the dishes sprang. Beginning with photo-illustrated portraits of the Topiano, Tucci, and Scappin families, the authors present the dishes they grew up on and still make today. Outstanding versions of familiar dishes like Bruschetta with Tomato, Fried Zucchini Fritters, Chicken Cacciatore, and Ricotta Cake are offered with “finds” such as Lasagna Made with Polenta and Gorgonzola Cheese; Farfalle with Artichokes, Potatoes, and Prosciutto; Shellfish and Bean Casserole; and the film-featured Timpano Alla Big Night, a drum of ziti, salami, provolone, meatballs, and more. Each recipe is introduced by the author to whom it “belongs,” and these notes are telling. (For example, Scappin writes of Angela’s Pear Cake, “My Aunt Angela was like a second mother to me, and every afternoon she baked a different cake.”).