Friday, September 26, 2008

Review: Rao's Cookbook

You are looking at the most important Italian Cookbook of the fourteen Italian cookbooks I think are important enough to keep on hand. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Rao's is a New York City institution as far as Italian cuisine is concerned. Reservations are impossible, and a year long waiting list keeps its ten sacred tables full. Some patrons have standing reservations, they own their tables!

If you want to eat at Rao's put your reservation in EARLY. Sure, you can eat at their Las Vegas location, but quite frankly, that's not Rao's. If you want the genuine Rao's experience you can find it in one place: Rao's, 455 East 114th Street, East Harlem, New York 10029. You want to make reservations? Here's the number: (212) 722-6709, be sure to tell them Henry K sent you!

The cookbook is worth the the price for the meatball recipe alone. The marinara recipe is simple and perfect. There's also a recipe in there for a sauce with savoy cabbage that is surprising. There are lots of great recipes and I've tried many. You will as well.

What also makes this a great book is what's behind the recipes. Stories and photos from the restaurant's history and more importantly, a lot of background info on how Rao's prepares the foundations for their recipes. Broths, vinegared peppers, flavored oils, batters and more, with tips on preparing garlic and beans and other things for recipes throughout the book.

If I had one suggestion, I would say that I would have liked to see photographs of every recipe. Apart from that, if you're looking for a great Italian cookbook, or of you're looking for ONE Italian Cookbook, Rao's is my suggestion.

8 months, 2 weeks and 4 days until my reservation...

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