Years ago, when Alex and I were at our first consulting job, revamping a menu for a restaurant in Westchester, I discovered Nancy Silverton. At that time she had three books out: Desserts, Breads From La Brea Bakery and Pastries from La Brea Bakery. I read them all from cover to cover. Even though I had graduated from culinary school and done more than my fair share of baking through the years, I quickly discovered how much I still had to learn. The books were well written, informative and comprehensive. I still have all three in (almost) pristine condition. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I've never made it out to actually taste any of her food, but when we heard about the Mozza Cookbook it was an auto-buy. We couldn't wait to read about what she was currently doing with pizza, pasta, dessert and everything in between.
One of the things that characterized SIlverton's earlier books and is definitely in play here is the attention to detail that runs through all of the recipes. Whether it's the step by step technique for cutting carrots for coleslaw or the two and half pages of tips in "matt's scuola di pasta," everything you need to know is right there in front of you. That's an invaluable thing in a recipe and in a book. One of the other great things about the Mozza Cookbook is that there really is something for everyone. Meat dishes, seafood dishes, vegetarian dishes and gluten free dishes, are all scattered throughout its pages. From how to roast fresno chiles to how to toast walnuts for your biscotti, from making rabbit stock to salsa verde, from cannole di gelato to Nancy's chopped salad, these recipes are appetizing and comprehensive. They are easily adaptable and the techniques and information are worth their weight in gold. This book is everything we hoped it would be and more. It's traditional Italian through a modern American lens with food you'll want to cook and eat. It isn't dumbed down and some of the recipes will challenge you in the best possible way because they will give you confidence and make you a better cook.
On to this week's giveaway. We will send one copy of the Mozza Cookbook, by Nancy SIlverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño, anywhere Amazon will ship it. To enter to win please leave a comment describing one of the most memorable Italian meals you've ever had, at home or anywhere else. Comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. One entry per person, only comments that answer this question will be eligible, and please make sure there is an email address as part of your comment profile so we can contact you if you win. Winner will be picked randomly on Friday, December 2, 2011 at 9am EST. This giveaway is now closed. Roberta, our winner, has been notified via email. Thanks for all your great comments! They were a pleasure to read and full of inspirations.