Soffritto: Tradition and Innovation in Tuscan Cooking

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9781580082587: Soffritto: Tradition and Innovation in Tuscan Cooking

Take an insider's look at majestic Tuscany by stepping into the kitchen of Florence's most acclaimed female chef, Benedetta Vitali. Named after the aromatic preparation that forms the backbone of a wide variety of Italian foods, SOFFRITTO is much more than a recipe book. Infused with Benedetta's spirited voice, SOFFRITTO offers an intimate look at both Old World and contemporary Tuscany. See the stunning images of daily life, smell the mouthwatering aromas wafting through Florence's kitchen windows, hear the bantering of locals in the marketplace, and taste true Tuscan cuisine at its best. After following Benedetta around Florence, repair to her kitchen, the center of family activity, for cooking grounded in fresh local ingredients and time-honored techniques. Beginning with basic dishes, she proceeds to teach the techniques of preparing regional classics and discloses the secrets of her world-famous restaurant, Zibibbo. Highlighted dishes include Soup of Puréed Yellow Peppers, Spinach Soufflé, and fresh Fig Torte. Benedetta preaches a reconnection with food and cooking as a way to simplify and enjoy life. Let her guide you through Tuscany's culinary world and rediscover tradition and magic in the kitchen.· The first English-language cookbook from the chef often described as the Alice Waters of Tuscan cuisine.· Includes over 50 lavish color photographs from National Geographic photographer Cary Wolinsky, and archival photos of Florence and Benedetta's family.

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Soffritto is a homey, meandering cookbook that makes you feel as if you're standing at author Benedetta Vitali's side as she sautés the minced red onion, celery, and carrot mixture for which the book is named. "Good cooking is an act of creativity," she says. "Use the recipes as indications, and trust your instincts to fill in the blanks." A simple Pomarola (Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil) can be prepared in just 10 minutes--the variations are as endless as your imagination. Try Fagioli (White Beans with Prosciutto, Tomato, and Sage) as a main dish or pair it with Poached Sea Bass. Finish your meal with Bonnet (Amaretto Custard). Each recipe is a story and therefore is as enjoyable to read as it is to follow. Depending on your palate, some recipes may be better off as stories than as dinners, as evidenced by Ragu con Colli Repieni (Meat Sauce with Stuffed Chicken Necks). --Dana Van Nest

About the Author:

BENEDETTA VITALI co-founded Cibrèo restaurant in Florence, Italy, in 1979 with the purpose of reconnecting Florentines and visitors to traditional Tuscan cooking. Since then, Cibrèo has been listed among the ten best casual restaurants in the world, and Benedetta has gone on to open her second restaurant, Zibibbo. Benedetta lives in Florence, Italy.
CARY WOLINSKY has been a photographer for National Geographic since the mid-1980s, specializing in historical and cultural assignments. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Norwell, Massachusetts.

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