Entertaining with the Sopranos
Compiled by Carmela Soprano
Written by Allen Rucker
Recipes by Michele Scicolone
Series Created by David Chase
202 pages; Hardcover, Color Photography
Werner Books, New York/Boston, 2006
Reviewed by, Chef John Vyhnanek, June 2006
This is the last year for the HBO series The Sopranos, which was on TV for six years. The dramatic series was multi-award-winning and spawned this and another cookbook, the first called The Sopranos Family Cookbook, several years ago. It was fabulous with great recipes and photographs. Certainly it was a tribute to the series and now that the series is ending, this cookbook is another tribute too. For those of you who have become fans of the HBO series, you already know all the characters including Uncle Junior, Carmela, Paulie Walnuts and Bobby Bacala. Every chapter leads in with a theme for a show, such as Chapter #1 Welcome to the Family: Baptisms, Communions and Confirmations, along with stills from the series and the topic of the chapter. Tony Soprano says, "Devout Catholics as they were, the first big event in my parents' house after my birth was the baptism. The ceremony was simpley brought to the church by my godparents and my mom stayed home to make rice balls. The after party was even simpler. People crowed into the little all-purpose room in the church basement and ate the pot luck offerings brought by the family and friends." Similar remembrances of confirmation and parties are included. This is followed by the recipes that might go along with the chapter theme, Neapolitan Crostini, Spaghetti Pie, Eggplant Rollatini, Chocolate Fudge Sheet Cake are a few. Chapter #3, Fit for a Bride, featured recipes for a bridal shower, Chapter #6, Holidays, had recipes for Christmas Eve, St. Joseph's Day and Easter and so goes every chapter before and after.
What sets this book apart from other cookbooks is first the quality of the paper followed by the photography, what would you expect from Time-Warner and HBO? Then come the recipesI got so hungry reading this book and looking at the pictures of the food that I had to put it down for a while. The dishes are traditional Italian-American like Prosciutto and Melon, Cannelloni with ground veal and spinach filling, Stromboli Bread and Easter Pie. I made the Neapolitan Crostini, page 14, Shrimp Aragonata, page 118 and Panna Cotta with raspberry sauce and Blueberries on page 104. Every recipe was easy, tasted great and presented beautifully. Just terrific results all around! This is a must-have cookbook for anyone who loves food, loves cooking and doesn’t want any surprises deciphering the recipe's procedure. It would make a great gift and might even become a collector's item some day. Good Cooking really likes this book! Mangia! Mangia!
Ingredients:2 ripe medium tomatoes, preferably New Jersey beefsteaks
Shrimp Aragonate, Baked Stuffed Shrimp
Ingredients:1 cup fresh bread crumbs made from Italian or French bread (with the crusts removed)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 large lemons, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Oil a large baking pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in1/4 cup oil, or just enough to moisten the crumbs.
Arrange the shrimp in the pan in a single layer, curling each shrimp into a circle. Spoon a littleof the bread crumb mixture onto each shrimp.
Bake until the crumbs are browned and the shrimp are cooked through when cut in the thickest part,about 10 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature, with the lemon wedges.
Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce and Blueberries
Ingredients:Three 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin