“Super Tuscan: Heritage Recipes and Simple Pleasures from Our Kitchen to Your Table” by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, Touchstone, $35, 271 pages, hardcover
"Super Tuscan." American wine enthusiasts use that term to refer to some top-quality blended wines produced in Tuscany that generally don’t stick to traditional local regulations.
In their second cookbook, chef Gabriele Corcos and his wife, actress Debi Mazar, use the term “Super Tuscan” to reflect their food — a blend of his Tuscan heritage (he grew up on a farm near Florence, Italy) and her American roots. The couple, who produced and co-hosted the James Beard award-winning show "Extra Virgin" on the Cooking Channel, live in Brooklyn with their two daughters and operate The Tuscan Gun café.
Marinated Lentils and Burrata Salad (Insalata di lenticchie e burrata)
In “Super Tuscan: Heritage Recipes and Simple Pleasures from Our Kitchen to Your Table,” they offer variations of basic dishes they have cooked over the years. The book’s more than 100 recipes are divided into 11 chapters, beginning, of course, with antipasti such as Eggplant Rolls with Ham and Cheese, and Bruschetta with Roasted Tomatoes and Mozzarella, and ending with desserts such as Italian Carrot Cake, and Limoncello and Mascarpone Parfaits. In between are recipes for cocktails, soups, salads, breakfast dishes, pasta and risotto, seafood, meat, poultry, and vegetables and grains.
The couple has lived in Los Angeles and New York, but they “always bring the Tuscan way of life, its traditions, and its cooking into our day-to-day existence as much as possible,” Mazar says in the book’s introduction. “We may not have olive trees in the backyard, but we cook and eat in the Tuscan manner. ... And we basically make the same meal in both countries.”
Like Super Tuscan wines, Corcos’ cooking style is a blend of mostly Italian with a slight California accent plus accents of Mazar’s upbringing in New York.
Their cookbook, written with Rick Rodgers, offers suggestions for organizing the kitchen and pantry for maximum efficiency and includes more than 125 full-color photographs plus lots of tips and side notes.
Many of the recipes in “Super Tuscan” are easy enough to prepare on a weeknight. Most also will be perfect for serving to guests or on special occasions. For example, Marinated Lentils and Burrata Salad goes together quickly and would be a good, make-ahead addition to a Halloween party menu.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.