2004 James Beard Award Nominee for Photography
Pino Luongo, prolific and irrepressible restaurateur (Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Tuscan Square, and Centolire) and author of A Tuscan in the Kitchen and Simply Tuscan, has written a highly personal, completely innovative take on the food of his native region.
For more than two decades, Pino Luongo has been one of New York City’s most renowned restaurateurs. Inspired by the many culinary crosscurrents in this most cosmopolitan of cities, he has devised an original version of the food of Tuscany that draws on ingredients and inspiration from Italy, America, and even Asia.
Grouping recipes by key ingredients (such as grains and legumes, mushrooms, spring vegetables, and fall vegetables) instead of by courses, he explains the Old-World “Il Classico” roots of his recipes, then takes them in exciting new directions with his own vibrant, New-World versions. In this brand new approach, the thick Florentine soup ribollita becomes a delectable filling for ravioli. Polenta replaces bread in pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup). The farro grain finds a new role as the basis of a warm salad made of mushrooms and arugula. Shellfish is happily married with the usually vegetarian dish caponata. There are poultry (Rigatoni with Chicken and Pea Ragout with Prosciutto), pork (Pork Short Ribs, Tuscan Style), and meat dishes (Lemon and Oregano–Marinated Lamb Chops with Roasted Peppers) and for an unusual finish to the meal, he gives advice on serving cheese with unexpected accompaniments. A luscious selection of dolci includes desserts such as Chocolate Pudding with Cherry Sauce and Citrus Zest and Almond Biscotti.
Occasionally Pino Luongo looks back to Tuscany’s glorious past for inspiration, as with the dessert dating from the Renaissance, Tagliatelle Torta with Apples and Raisins. Based on dishes served in Pino Luongo’s popular and acclaimed restaurants as well as recipes he has created at home through improvisation, La Mia Cucina Toscana will delight anyone interested in exploring something new from one of Tuscany’s favorite sons.