Buono Appetito: A Review of Da Silvano Cookbook: Simple Secrets from New York’s Favorite Italian Restaurant

Buono Appetito: A Review of Da Silvano Cookbook: Simple Secrets from New York’s Favorite Italian Restaurant

 Marchetto has watched food trends come and go, while his Greenwich Village restaurant on 6th Avenue has continued to flourish, attracting the celebrities whose signatures, and satisfied comments, scribbles and drawings fill his guest book. The food is classic northern Italian, and Silvano’s love of food, and sense of humour comes through in his long awaited cookbook.
Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

Da Silvano Cookbook
by Silvano Marchetto
ISBN: 1-58234-117-6
November 2001
Bloomsbury USA
RRP: A$49.95

For the past 24 years, Silvano Marchetto has been running the very famous traditional Italian Da Silvano restaurant in New York City. Marchetto has watched food trends come and go, while his Greenwich Village restaurant on 6th Avenue has continued to flourish, attracting the celebrities whose signatures, and satisfied comments, scribbles and drawings fill his guest book. The food is classic northern Italian, and Silvano’s love of food, and sense of humour comes through in his long awaited cookbook. In writer Nick Tosches warm and humorous introduction, he cites the old saying “if you can read, you can cook”, and tells readers that they now hold the golden key to unlock Da Silvano’s secrets. Of course this isn’t true, although the recipes are surprisingly simple, with large sumptuous photos, and very little extra text aside from a few sentences introducing the recipe by Marchetto. The book is structured in a very straightforward Italian way, starting with antipasti, and then pasta, risotti, and e zuppe (soup), pesce e frutti di mare (fish and shellfish), pollame e carni (poultry and meat), verdure (vegetables), Dolci (desserts), and brodi e suchi (stocks and sauces). There are also mail order sources, which are generally applicable only to those readers living in the USA, and a guide to culinary terms. Peppered throughout the book are photos of celebrities having fun at the restaurant, and large glossy photos of the dishes which are very inviting.

Many of the recipes are very simple, from Brushetta to simple bean dishes, basic salads, soups like minestrone, simple seafood dishes like plates of mussels, basic meat entrees like Florentine Steak, and classic desserts like Crème Brulee and Panna Cotta. The experienced cook will probably have recipes for most of these dishes in their collection, if not memorised, and these versions are fairly classic, although they do have some personalised touches, mainly simplifications. The home cook will appreciate the small ingredient list, but don’t be fooled. The recipes call for the finest ingredients to work properly, and substituting bacon for Pancetta, lettuce for radicchio, forgetting to peel your fava (or broad) beans, using inferior seafood, or poor quality wine will ruin the recipes. This really appears to be Marchetto’s secret. The recipes are a mixture of seasonal classics which use only the finest, and often exotic ingredients, focusing on the inherent flavours of the main ingredients. Risottos use quality stocks, Carnoli or Arborio rice, Reggiano parmesan, and lots of butter and cream. A dish of cold poached salmon relies on a perfect salmon fillet, and quality pesto. Quails, ducks, veal and lamb, unctuous stews, and fresh seafood skewers are all based on a focus on the best ingredients possible, and little attention to keeping food low in fat. The rich creamy desserts are even richer and creamier than usual, and guests will love it (I doubt even serious dieters will be able to resist the chocolate drizzled, oven baked panna cotta, or the Italian cheesecake redolent with eggs, sourcream, cream cheese, and buffalo ricotta. This is certainly a book to drool over, and even beginning cooks will find the recipes quite achievable, as long as they don’t mind spending on the fine quality ingredients. Experienced cooks may find the recipes a bit overly familiar, but should nonetheless gain a few hints, and anyone familiar with New York’s celebrity scene will enjoy the insight into how the other half lives, and have fun guessing who is who, and reading their comments.

For more information or to purchase a copy of Da Silvano Cookbook , click here: Da Silvano

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