Like most families no doubt we have cookery bibles. Those much loved cookery books splodged with grease and stains which are turned to for checking basic methods as well as for recipes time after time.
We can see David Rocco’s book Dolce Famiglia turning into our bible of Italian cooking.
We have read it from cover to cover and are now ready to start cooking in earnest. We love his straightforward approach to cooking and now can frequently be heard wandering round the kitchen muttering QB.
QB figures large in many of David’s recipes, and stands, we gather, for Quanto Basta – ‘as much as you want’, or ‘as much as you need and no more’. In other words suit the recipe to your own taste.
But to start at the very beginning of this beautifully illustrated book – terrific photography by Francesco Lastrucci – the Introduction is just that, an insight into tasty family meals be it the immediate family or the strong relationships we all form with people on our journey through life.
Then comes a section on the equipment he uses in his kitchen and the basic ingredients – and where necessary how he makes them, ie fresh pasta dough/sauces.
His ‘Family Recipes’ then follow giving us a glimpse into the members of his own family. There is daughter Emma for instance who, like me, didn’t like salt cod (baccala). But by turning it into Cod Croquettes now devours them – we can understand why – they do look delicious.
Italy, Family and Tradition
We also loved the chapter ‘Italy, Family and Tradition’ where he introduces us to people like Carlotta Pometti a young wine maker and her love for where she lives and the food she enjoys. The recipe for Pork in Crosta certainly sounds good.
Modena is famous for its balsamic vinegar – Aceto Balsamico di Modena – and so we meet Adriano Morandi owner of Salumeria Giusti said to be the oldest deli in Europe which sells a wide range of it as well as other local produce.
And then there are other members of his family, along with various friends, who have influenced him in his passion for cooking – farmers, fishermen, restaurant owners, hoteliers, bakers – and with each fresh introduction there follows a recipe. A terrific book.
Dolce Famiglia: David Rocco, photography by Francesco Lastrucci. ISBN: 978-1-4434-5365-3. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. davidrocco.com. £20.