Reading Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar reminded me why I fell in love with Italian cuisine. The homemade feeling I get when an Italian dish hits the table because I know how much love, effort, and time was spent on making it. The old world feeling that fills the room because so much history and culture is infused into every dish, and if you’re really lucky, you may hear some really great stories. The staple and fresh ingredients used because it’s not really an Italian dish if it’s not made from scratch or capers, olive oil, or squid isn’t used somewhere.
From my reading, I learned the recipes in Extra Virgin are not the sole driving force of the book–even though the recipes are very good and authentic to Italian cuisine. The love between Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos is the foundation of this book, and it puts an entirely different spin on what it means to cook. Their love for one another, especially in the kitchen, shows you don’t have to slave over a five course meal in order for someone to really appreciate your selfless act, and how that person’s response can sometimes feel you up more than the plate of food sitting in front of you.
The food photography in this book is amazing! There is something about Italian dishes that transport me to Italy, even though I have not made my first trip. I swear I plan on traveling to Italy within the next three years. There is just something so rustic and homemade about the photographed food that it commands you to try a recipe or two.
The great thing about this book is that you really are learning the basics of Italian cuisine, and the recipes are a reflection of that. You learn to make pasta from scratch as well as their companion sauces, and there are a few visual teaching moments such as bread making. If you want a little taste of Italy in your home, I recommend getting a copy of Extra Virgin. You may just discover your love for Italian cuisine, too.