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The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen Hardcover – Illustrated, March 13, 2012
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Featured Recipe: Giusi's Ragù
Slow and easy--long-simmered ragù is the quintessential Tuscan soul food. There are as many ways with ragù as there are cooks. This is ours, learned originally from Giusi, who's made it a thousand times. By now, I think we have, too. On many Saturday mornings, Ed makes a huge pot of ragù--tripling, quadrupling the recipe--and another of tomato sauce. We consider these our natural resources. For lunch, while the pots are still on the stove, we spoon ragù over bruschetta, add some cheese, and run it under the broiler. By afternoon, we're ready to fill several glass containers of different sizes and freeze them. We're then free to pull one out during the workweek. Serve ragù in lasagne or over spaghetti and, as you eat, you know you're participating in a communal rite that's being enacted all over the Italian peninsula.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground lean beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 to 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup soffritto (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 16 to 20 tomatoes or 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, juice included, chopped
Pour the olive oil into a 4-quart heavy pot with a lid. Over medium-high heat, brown the meats, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and 1 cup of the red wine. After the wine has cooked into the meat, about 10 minutes, add the soffritto, and stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes.
Bring the sauce to a boil, and then lower to a quiet simmer. Partially cover, and continue cooking for 3 hours, stirring now and then. Along the way, add the remaining cup of wine if you think the sauce is too dense.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Saute the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to color and turn tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- -Nancy Silverton, founder of La Brea Bakery and co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza restaurants in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Singapore
Frances and Edward Mayes generously invite us into their Tuscan world, to share in lavish, friend-filled feasts as we gather around the wood-fired bread oven. It’s a book of joy and celebration, stories of the call of the owl, the invasion of wild boars, honest, earthy, and welcoming. We can taste their freshly-pressed olive oil, thrill in the flavor of the neighbor’s lavender honey, want to run into the kitchen to prepare their long-simmered ragù, and plan to duplicate Ed’s caper, anchovy, and mozzarella pizza. Steven Rothfeld’s stunning photos make their world sing, come truly alive.
--Patricia Wells, author of Salad as a Meal
Frances and Ed Mayes haven't written some wistful expat's dream; they have done their homework about why Tuscan food is what it is, and what we need to know about it. In their writing, Tuscany doesn't seem a picture postcard (even though the book is a beauty). Instead it comes off feeling much more like home. As for the dishes, they've captured the essential simplicity that is Tuscan cooking. Frances and Ed know what they're doing and it's a pleasure to read. This is one of those books that makes you homesick, even if you never had a home like this.
--Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of national radio show The Splendid Table® from American Public Media
- Publisher : Clarkson Potter; Illustrated edition (March 13, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307885283
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307885289
- Item Weight : 2.25 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.34 x 0.84 x 10.29 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #36,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Many of the recipies have simple ingredients, but that doesn't mean they are 'basic'....it just means it allows the flavors to shine through. I have made only a few so far, but have been very pleased.
I also like how the author intersperses stories so you actually feel like you're there while she and her dear friends are cooking and enjoying themselves. Truly, cooking isn't just slapping something together...its the process, the rhythms, the fellowship and being present in the moment... just enjoying everything!
A wonderful book for yourself or to give as a gift!
Top reviews from other countries
For those unfamiliar with American author Frances Mayes, she wrote (almost 20 years ago) "Under the Tuscan Sun", a book about how she, in her middle-age, took a big risk and purchased an abandoned house with 5 acres of land in Italy after a painful divorce. How, through the restoration of her house, she made a fresh start in her life, forged a new relationship, and learned to reconnect with the land. I urge everyone to read this book first, as it will give you a sense of Mayes' life in a foreign country, how she embraces simple quotidien life. Plus, it's just a great book, beautifully written and in my opinion the best example of this genre. Once you read this, you will perhaps appreciate this cookbook a little more as she discusses old friends and her two houses in Italy. Alongside the recipes, she writes a little anecdote about each one, how the recipe came about or where they first tried the dish. The tone is casual and conversational, and draws the reader in so you can almost read it like a novel. Mayes focuses on the Italian tradition of "cucina povera", when the housewife had to make do with what was available, in season. Nothing is fancy or complicated, and sticks to simple, robust, fresh ingredients. Most of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs taken (according to Frances) at the Mayes' homes, prepared by the Mayes' themselves and eaten immediately after the photos were taken!
I haven't tried any of the recipes yet although nothing looks too daunting. At the beginning of the book, she explains store-cupboard basics to have on hand, such as homemade tomato sauce and seasonings, as these often form the basis of many of the recipes. She writes in a chatty, conversational way and you almost feel you are at her side as she explains things. After the basics, she then starts with antipasti and finishes with dolci, with a few pages in between on selecting good olive oil and how to make pasta. With each recipe, she suggests a wine to accompany the dish, although I am not sure how easy they would be to source in the local US or UK supermarkets. (Also - the measurements are in American cups but it's not hard to convert for the UK kitchen).
This book makes me feel homesick, although my home isn't anything like hers. If you love Italian cooking, or anything to do with Italy, I'm sure you will like this book. Oh, and I should add - Frances and Ed wrote the book together - if you want to know more about Ed read Under the Tuscan Sun!