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La Mia Cucina Toscana: A Tuscan Cooks in America by Pino Luongo

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Notes about this book

  • Breadcrumbs on November 21, 2010

    A very good book with lots of recipes that appeal and all that we've tried thus far have been great. This book seems to come up a lot when I search for prospective recipes based on the ingredients I want to cook with.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Spiral pasta with lentils, shrimp, and bacon (Fusilli con lenticchie,gamberi, e pancetta)

    • Breadcrumbs on March 17, 2012

      p. 25 Not surprisingly, another hit from this book. The smokiness of the bacon pairs perfectly with the earthy lentils and both elevate the shrimp in a delicious dish that is relatively quick and quite easy to prepare. The sauce for this dish is light. A little white wine combined with some broth reserved after cooking the lentils. I did have some baby spinach to use up so I tossed in approx 2 cups of that as well. The finished dish is restaurant-quality, our guests raved about it and wanted this recipe. Highly recommend this dish.

  • Roughly cut pasta with white bean sauce (Maltagliati con ragu di fagioli cannellini)

    • Breadcrumbs on August 23, 2010

      p. 36 - August 2010, first use of this recipe. With fresh beans at the market the time was right to give this a try. I did add some sweet Italian Sausage for my meat-loving guests and, additional tomatoes. Recipe was simple and delicious. The addition of some cooking water from the bean pot really brought depth to the flavour of the sauce. (So much so that I saved the remaining water to use in other dishes!!) This was a terrific, simple and delicious recipe that I'll definitely use again.

  • Tagliarini with small veal meatballs, mushrooms, and sweet peas (Tagliarini con polpette, funghi, e piselli)

    • Breadcrumbs on September 17, 2011

      p. 65 - This is a really special, delicious dish. Peas and mushrooms pair perfectly of course and the tender veal meatballs play beautifully with the combination. The absence of tomatoes and a stock-based sauce allow all the other elements of the dish to stand alone and shine. Truly scrumptious, we'll definitely have this again.

  • Pappardelle with roasted butternut squash, crumbled sweet sausage, and sage (Pappardelle con zucca e salsiccia alla salvia)

    • Breadcrumbs on November 04, 2012

      p. 121 - Classically the ingredients used here come together in a zuppa but this version, a riff, pairs the sweetness of the squash w sausage and the earthiness of sage to produce a delicious pasta perfectly suited for a crisp fall evening. I find it easier to peel squash if it’s slightly softened so to achieve this I score the skin and place the whole squash in the microwave, covered w a piece of paper towel and microwave on high for 5-7 mins. Once the squash cools, I peel it w a y-shaped vegetable peeler. ¾ of the squash is roasted along w some garlic cloves, sage and bay leaves. The remaining squash is simmered w some sautéed leek and stock then pureed to make a light sauce. Mine was quite thick so I thinned it out w some water when pureeing in the blender. Cooked pasta is combined w the roasted veggies, sauce, sautéed sausage and leeks. Parmesan is grated atop. A delicious pasta that I’ll definitely make again. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/876223#7688194

  • Garganelli and chicken ragout with saffron (Garganelli al sugo di pollo e zafferano)

    • Breadcrumbs on November 21, 2010

      p. 174 Another hit from this book. Evidently, saffron and leeks were a popular combination during the Renaissance. No sauce to speak of, just a little broth that has reduced w a splash of wine and, some pasta water added at the end. What the dish lacks in sauce it more than makes up for in flavours. The final addition of the pasta allows for the absorption of most of the remaining liquids thus the pasta takes on the yellow hue the saffron has imparted to the dish. The leeks seemed extra sweet and the zucchini in a small dice added just the right amount of crunch and texture. In the interest of time, I chose not to fry the zucchini in a separate pan, I simply added it raw to the sauce. I didn't feel we missed anything by doing so except maybe some oil. Also, I didn't dice the chx breast as directed. I felt that 1/8 was just too small and thought we'd prefer a somewhat more substantial bite so I went with 1/2 inch cubes. This seemed just right and I'd do this again.

    • Breadcrumbs on November 21, 2010

      Continued from earlier note due to space limits. The parmesan mixed into the pasta and, the handful on top is a must. If serving to company, I'd give each plate a sprinkle of chopped chives to add a bit of contrast to the yellow. Excellent dish I'll make again. 9

  • Orecchiette with dandelion, sausage, and lemon zest (Orecchiette con cicoria, salsiccia, e scorzette di limone)

    • Breadcrumbs on September 17, 2011

      p. 192 - An abundance of wild dandelion from the farmer's market (as broccoli rabe wasn't available) was the inspiration for this meal. I opted to use sliced garlic in the sauteing of the greens and, not removing it and, also adding crushed garlic and fennel seeds while the sausage cooked. I tasted this dish prior to plating and the predominant flavours were hot and bitter. I decided to add a chopped, super-sweet German Heirloom tomato and the dish transformed into a perfect harmony on our forks. We'll definitely make this again and, I think the orecchiette is the perfect pasta for this dish. I also added about 1 cup of the pasta water to loosen the dish and make for a bit of a sauce.

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  • ISBN 10 0767911946
  • ISBN 13 9780767911948
  • Published Oct 23 2003
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Broadway Books

Publishers Text

2004 James Beard Award Nominee for Photography

Pino Luongo, prolific and irrepressible restaurateur (Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Tuscan Square, and Centolire) and author of A Tuscan in the Kitchen and Simply Tuscan, has written a highly personal, completely innovative take on the food of his native region.

For more than two decades, Pino Luongo has been one of New York City's most renowned restaurateurs. Inspired by the many culinary crosscurrents in this most cosmopolitan of cities, he has devised an original version of the food of Tuscany that draws on ingredients and inspiration from Italy, America, and even Asia. Grouping recipes by key ingredients (such as grains and legumes, mushrooms, spring vegetables, and fall vegetables) instead of by courses, he explains the Old-World "Il Classico" roots of his recipes, then takes them in exciting new directions with his own vibrant, New-World versions. In this brand new approach, the thick Florentine soup ribollita becomes a delectable filling for ravioli. Polenta replaces bread in pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup). The farro grain finds a new role as the basis of a warm salad made of mushrooms and arugula. Shellfish is happily married with the usually vegetarian dish caponata. There are poultry (Rigatoni with Chicken and Pea Ragout with Prosciutto), pork (Pork Short Ribs, Tuscan Style), and meat dishes (Lemon and Oregano - Marinated Lamb Chops with Roasted Peppers) and for an unusual finish to the meal, he gives advice on serving cheese with unexpected accompaniments. A luscious selection of dolci includes desserts such as Chocolate Pudding with Cherry Sauce and Citrus Zest and Almond Biscotti.

Occasionally Pino Luongo looks back to Tuscany's glorious past for inspiration, as with the dessert dating from the Renaissance, Tagliatelle Torta with Apples and Raisins. Based on dishes served in Pino Luongo's popular and acclaimed restaurants as well as recipes he has created at home through improvisation, La Mia Cucina Toscana will delight anyone interested in exploring something new from one of Tuscany's favorite sons.

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