Friday, March 15, 2013

The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci

I always scratch my head and look dubious whenever I see or hear that a celebrity has "written" a cookbook. But having directed the foodie cult classic Big Night, and seen him on the talk show circuit, I already knew that Stanley Tucci is no slouch in the kitchen.

So I came into this cookbook with much less cynicism than, say, this one or this one, and I have to admit, I was quite impressed with the thoughtfulness with which the recipes were put together and also the desire Tucci has to share his family history in order to prove his credibility. It's as if he's saying, "Hey people, all those other celebs? They're just cashing in. Me? I actually have a legit, storied history here." And, well, let me just say that I love Stanly Tucci so that's part of the reason I give him a pass. He's always seemed above the fray when it comes to all the privilege and antics of the Hollywood crowd. Whether that's only my own perception or the actual truth, I don't know, but to me, he's much more of a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy.

The recipes in this book are quite simple and easily attainable for a home cook, though not particularly new or innovative. But hey, there's nothing wrong with simple, easy and traditional, right?

Unlike my most recent cookbook review, the photographs in this cookbook definitely engaged my salivary glands. In fact, the photographs were so appetizing that I found myself wishing there were more.

I've made a few recipes from this cookbook since checking it out at the library and I have to say they were all successful, but my favorites were the Milanese Risotto and the Egg Tart with Spinach and Potatoes (posted below).

Egg Tart with Spinach and Potatoes
Serves 4
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled (I left the peel on because I'm lazy like that)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach, stems removed, leaves washed, coarsely chopped, and blanched in boiling water for 1 minute (I was lazy and used frozen spinach)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped, fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place the potato in a pot filled with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cut the potato in half lengthwise and then into thin half-moon slices.

3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Squeeze all the water out of the spinach and add to the eggs along with the potato slices, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.

4. Heat a 10 to 12 inch nonstick ovenproof frying pan or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted and is foaming, pour the egg mixture into the pan, sitting well. Continue to cook and stir until the eggs become slightly scrambled, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the eggs are firm but still moist, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the egg tart onto a serving plate. Slice and serve immediately.

Wine pairing: Sparkling, light white, and medium white

The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci
Published: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 400
Genre: Cookery
Audience: Adults
Disclosure: Library Copy


  1. Oh thanks so much for this review. I like Tucci and he had (has?) a great wine show on TV that my husband and I really like. Tucci seems to be quite knowledgeable and unpretentious.

  2. I saw Stanley Tucci on a talk show and he made a recipe from this book. The egg tart looks great, I'm pinning that one. And I agree, simple, easy and traditional are good.

  3. Good to know about this book! I love Tucci's work so I'd be curious to try some of his recipes. :)

  4. I have everything on hand for that egg tart. I see a tart being made in my very near future. :)

  5. Love that he gives a wine pairing! Is that with every recipe, I wonder?

  6. Love Stanley Tucci and love Big Night...and love his wine show. so I will probably love his cookbook too!