By Cristina Ceccatelli Cook & Kirsten Schultz
Gibbs Smith, $30.00, 200 pages
I shy away from reviewing cookbooks by restaurant chefs. Many of these professional are unable to translate recipes to the convenience of home cooks. Blessedly, the large-format Cristina’s of Sun Valley Con Gusto!, chef/owner of her restaurant, doesn’t fall into this category. Even though the photo illustrations take up at least half of the book, the cookbook is beautifully useable and mostly accessible to home cooks. The recipes are easy to follow, well-written, occasionally with interesting notes about the authentic Italian origin and every one is illustrated with a superb full-page photo so you know what to shoot for.
“We weave the old into new.”
Ingredients are generally readily available though a well-stocked Italian market is a must for some, sottocenere al tartufo, for example. Each chapter starts with an equally great two-page color spread, mostly showing scenes from the restaurant. Though there are many photos they do not overwhelm the cookbook. Many recipes are ordinary (double chocolate brownies, beef stew, roasted sweet potatoes), others are true Italian (spezzatino of beef and kale, sbrisiolona, bavettine alla carrettiera) but most home cooks should have little difficulty preparing them. Recipe layout is excellent, user-friendly, keeping each recipe on a single page. Index is superb and well cross referenced.
Reviewed by George Erdosh