First of all, let me tell you, I have never seen a cookbook that looked like a limited edition of a Charles Dickens novel. This book had gilt edges, a beautiful hard cover with gold lettering and it was the size, not of a coffee table book, but of an oak paneled library tome. However, it was not the intention of the authors to create a book that would be shelved. The contents of this Kitchen Companion are worthy of food spatters and folded corners. It is a book meant to be used.
I was completely charmed by The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual
by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. With a down to earth writing style, both Franks’ stories of growing up in Italian-American families are woven through their recipes. The book is filled with recipes calling for easy to find ingredients made in a simple family style; just like Italian Grandmas used to make for Sunday dinner.
The recipes included in this cookbook include a wonderful basic tomato sauce which we tried out. With simple ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes, it became amazing after using it to cook meatballs. I didn’t grow up with any Italian friends, so I had no idea how great a sauce could be when it became the means of cooking all sorts of meat. The sauce only got better with time, too. The next day’s leftovers were supreme.
Other recipes include Gnocchi, Braciole, Meatballs, Homemade Pastas, soups like Fagiola, Roasted Butternut, and Lentil with Bacon and desserts such as Olive Oil Cake, Hazelnut Panna Cotta and Chocolate Tart. I had such a wonderful time drooling over all of them. I think eventually, I will have to add this book to my collection.