For my birthday, Cecelia and David gave me a new cookbook, “Urban Italian” by Andrew Carmellini. The author’s restaurant is A Voce in Manhattan; I had a memorable lunch there a few years ago when in NYC, with my mom and sister. The meal was really impressive; and I knew that my friend, Gina, likes Andrew a lot. She’s the one who suggested we go there.
So, now I have the cookbook and it is exciting. The recipes seem to have the same bold flavors that I remember from the lunch experience. Cec and I made dinner last night, using the book. We started with grilled bread with a ricotta spread. We used the last bit of the homemade ricotta and some store bought. I think this was Cecelia’s favorite part of the meal. She kept complaining about now being able to stop eating it!
We drank an inexpensive Cline Viognier; it seemed the perfect “cocktail wine” and a nice match with the warm, somewhat garlicy bread and the cool, creamy cheese.
On to the dinner. We decided on grilled chicken, spinach with chick peas, and potatoes.
The chicken marinated in roasted garlic paste, lemons, oil, vinegar and fresh rosemary. I took the lemon slices and threw them on the grill for a garnish–see?
We used boneless breasts, even though the recipe called for whole chickens and it came out perfectly.
The spinach, with chick peas, was wonderful–topped with ricotta salata.
Cecelia worked hard on the potatoes. It wasn’t difficult, just lots of steps, but SO worth it!
Finally, here’s the table, right before we ate. The dolcetto d’Alba we drank was a good match but not a great wine. Of course, that didn’t stop us from finishing the bottle.
I really recommend “Urban Italian” for a totally different kind of Italian cookbook. Reading the introduction was great fun, too. Andrew Carmellini seems like a great guy!
His first “tip” before you start on the recipe section is “Don’t stress out”.
We didn’t, at all–the recipes were easy to follow and the results were delicious!


Thanks to Andrew Carmellini — 2 Comments

  1. That looks like quite a feast. I don’t know if I can handle another cook book though – I’d need a new bookcase!
    Happy birthday

  2. Jan’s right! The dinner was fabulous and fun to prepare. The cookbook is great.