I was recently sent 3 cookbooks from Chef’s Press, Inc. for review. I will begin my series of reviews with the Italian book in the series called Cicciotti’s Kitchen by Gaetano Cicciotti. Gaetano Cicciotti owns Cicciotti’s Trattoria in Cardiff by the Sea, CA. Gaetano believes in fresh and simple cooking using fresh ingredients. He grew up in Naples, Italy and spent many hours in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother. His recipes will transport you back to simpler times where old world traditions still exist. In his book he will share with you Italian classics, restaurant favorites and new creations that are very easy to make. The basics of his recipes use 7 very simple ingredients; fish, cheese, pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, onions and basil.
Cicciotti’s Kitchen is not a large book but it is packed with wonderful classic recipes that include a picture for most of the recipes which I do like as it’s very important to see what the finished product will look like for a lot of people.
The book is broken down into 5 chapters; Salse (sauces), Antipasti (appetizers), Zuppe (soup), Paste (pasta) and Specialita (specialties). Gaetano’s recipes are very easy to make, using classic simple ingredients that everyone has on hand. I chose to make his Artichoke Soup (Zuppa di Carciofi). Some of his other dishes that I plan on making include: Bolognese Sauce, Penne alla Vodka, Shrimp with Capers and Olives, Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce and many others. To see how I made the Artichoke Soup (Zuppa di Carciofi) from Cicciotti’s Kitchen, keep reading.
Artichoke Soup (Zuppa di Carciofi)
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp. good quality olive oil
1 cup chopped Roma (plum) tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can whole artichoke hearts, quartered
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, if you want it vegetarian
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste
Garnish with freshly grated Parmigiono-Reggiano cheese and homemade croutons (if desired)
In a large saute or frying pan over medium heat, saute the onion in the oil until soft. About 5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. To the pot add the artichokes, cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Add in the broth and the basil. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Garnish with the cheese and croutons, if desired.
Disclaimer: These books were sent to me courtesy of Chef’s Press and the views are my own