by Giovanna Folonari Ruffino
In Chianti Family Cooking, cooking instructor and member of the famous Ruffino Chianti family Giovanna Folonari Ruffino offers 100 lusty, simple, and intensely flavored dishes for the lover of Italian foods and Italian wines. Almost devoid of commentary, nearly every recipe is, instead, accompanied by a photograph. (Those dishes lacking pictures, such as Spaghetti with Onion Sauce, tend to be remarkably plain and presumably not all that photogenic.) Ruffino’s first courses range from the familiar (Penne with Spinach and Gorgonzola, Orecchiette with Broccoli) to the extraordinary (Pennette with Arugula and Sausage, Crepes with Spinach and Ricotta served with Red Sweet Pepper Fondue). Her meat dishes shine: Veal Rolls stuffed with Radicchio, Prosciutto, and Fontina is yummy beyond compare. Each section is accompanied by a recommended wine list. Surprisingly, Ruffino shows little bias toward Tuscan wines–the wines of Northern Italy, from Collio to Barolo, are represented here, as well those of the Ruffino estate. Despite (or possibly because of) its inconsistencies and surprises, Chianti Family Cooking offers the kind of direct and forceful food that will delight even the most jaded of palates.