Classico e Moderno

By : | 0 Comments | On : October 20, 2016 | Category : Book Review

Margarita Pizza flat

Essential Italian Cooking

by Michael White, Andrew Friedman


Having won or been nominated for just about every known prestigious culinary award, Michael White is hailed by food critics as the next great hero of Italian gastronomy. His reach extends around the globe with a clutch of acclaimed fine dining restaurants, including Marea, Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini, and pizzeria Nicoletta.

Now, in Classico e Moderno, White brings his passion for authentic Italian cuisine to the home kitchen, with recipes—nearly 250—that cover both the traditional and contemporary dishes of the region. In the “Classico” portion, White shares such iconic dishes as Meatballs Braised in Tomato Sauce; Pasta and Bean Soup; Cavatelli with Lamb Ragù and Bell Peppers; and Roasted Pork Leg with Rosemary and Black Pepper. The “Moderno” chapters feature recipes that have put White’s restaurants on the map, including Chicken Liver Crostini with Marsala-Braised Onions; Fusili with Red Wine–Braised Octopus and Bone Marrow; and Veal Chops with Roasted Endive and Pancetta Cream Sauce.

Both the Classico and Moderno sections offer ideas for your whole meal: first courses (Vitello Tonnato, Garganelli with Caviar Cream ), soups (Zuppa di Baccalá, White Bean Soup with Sautéed Shrimp), pastas (Tortellini alla Panna, Ricotta and Swiss Chard Tortelli), main courses (Pollo alla Diavola, Braised Lamb Shanks with Farrotto), and desserts (Crostata di Ricotta, Panna Cotta with Meyer Lemon–Basil Sorbet and Almond Milk Froth), as well as salads, pizzas, and basic formulas for pesto, stocks, and vinaigrettes. Including personal notes and anecdotes about White’s early sojourn in Italy and his flavorful career, Classico e Moderno will give you all the tools, tips, and tricks you need to cook tantalizing Italian dishes with the confidence of a seasoned chef.

Praise for Michael White and Classico e Moderno
“A masterpiece of culinary acumen and perfection in presentation . . . White once again sublimely deals with his cuisine of choice—Italian. In an attempt to bridge the gap between classic and modern, this chef extraordinaire offers the reader an experience in beauty and taste. . . . This book is a testament to both the importance/influence of Italian cuisine and to the rich and varied experiences its ingredients and tradition still have to offer.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Exceedingly appealing . . . [Michael White] is one of the great chefs of modern Italian food in this country, and in Classico e Moderno he teaches us enough so that we can try to follow in his footsteps.”Vogue
“Hugely ambitious . . . White is one of a number of rising chefs here who aren’t Italian but have felt the freedom to refresh the concept of Italian food.”—Associated Press
“The future of Italian gastronomy, thanks to the spectacular inventiveness he brings to modernizing the world’s most popular cuisine.”Gotham

“I’ve watched and tasted as Michael White has matured into his current position as one of the preeminent stewards and pioneers of Italian culinary tradition in America. Even his signature modern dishes are as relatable as the classics—and are perhaps even destined to be deemed classics in their own right some day.”—Thomas Keller, from the Foreword

“Michael White has, in very short order, grabbed the Italian food crown for New York City.”—Anthony Bourdain


TSG Review

Italian food yes please! Classics and brand-new recipes, sounds good so far. Everyone of them has a full page picture, Boom!  Huge amount of sushi-like raw fish recipes—wait—what?

I followed all of these recipes exactly as written.

Sautéed Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmigiano Cream

Serves 4

It was all I could do to keep from licking the cream sauce out of the steaming hot pan. By taking common ingredients and simmering them down to their most condensed flavors the dish is both simple and elegant. The Parmigiano cream sauce is very rich but used sparingly. The crispy browned cheese on the poached egg is a nice touch. The asparagus is cooked perfectly so it retains its crispness but isn’t too woodsy. You will have to practice making this more than once to get the timing right. When all the ingredients are done at the same time it is totally worth it!


Pizza Margarita: Tomato and Basil Pizza, Pizza Sauce, Pizza Dough

Makes 2 12 inch pizzas

I used three recipes from the book to make this pizza. I have always been a fan of thick tomato sauces but this sauce was refreshing with it’s fresh ingredients even if it was a bit watery. You let it sit in the fridge overnight so all the flavors have time to intensify. I will totally use it again but I will most likely drain the sauce through cheese cloth first.

The Pizza Dough recipe worked just fine but the process for making it was more difficult than others I have done before. It starts in a stand mixer then you turn it out to finish kneading the dough by hand. It didn’t taste any different to me than the ones where you got from start to finish in a stand mixer.

As for the Margarita Pizza itself, that turned out just the way it’s supposed too, fresh, bright, and beautiful. The best ingredients and the simplest use of them. Basil, fresh mozzarella, pizza sauce.



Fusilli Con Ragù Napolitano

Serves 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course

Interesting take on a tomato, red wine, pork sauce. Instead of grinding the meat to make a bolinease sauce you finely dice the pork shoulder instead. All the ingredients come together into a very flavorful soup that had my mouth watering through the entire cooking time. Did I say soup? Yes! Instead of a sauce I got soup. even after extending the directed cooking time for 3 more hours. The author had me include 4 cups of chicken stock at the end that turned this from sauce into soup. Not sure if the author has incorrect measurements in the recipe or a different idea of sauce than I do. Didn’t really matter in the end because the pork, tomato, onions, wine, garlic, and noodles tasted great.


Halibut with Baby Romaine, Guanciale, and Parsnip Puree

 Halibut with Baby Romaine, Guanciale, and Parsnip Puree Recipe

Serves 4

This dish reminded me of something from a restaurant I couldn’t afford to go to. Very interesting flavors mingle together to make a fantastic dish that was pretty easy to make. Besides the the way it’s plated the flavors are unusual for me. Three of the ingredients I have never tried before. The guanciale halibut and parsnips. The chopped guaanciale was difficult to find but I think this jowl cured meat definitely added a wonderful flavor that bacon, although similar, just can’t match. Once added to the diced onion, carrots, and celery, the intense flavor of the guanciale brought out the simple flavor of the fish which only had salt and pepper on it. Halibuts light and almost “fluffy” texture and flavor worked well with the vegetables. The parsnip puree stood in as a starch. It reminded me of mashed potatoes with a sweeter flavor and a hint of licorice or fennel. The puree was actually a separate recipe that was found in another part of the book with celery root instead of parsnips. You just had to trade out this one ingredient. I found other recipes in the book like this where they saved paper and space by using community recipes or parts of recipes from one dish for another. Makes sense but can be  bit confusing flipping back in forth in the book when you are trying to making dinner.A single romaine leaf is wilted then the vegetables are placed inside the lettuce leaf on the plate. IT made a very sexy dinner that tasted great.



My new go-to-Italian-recipe-book. I couldn’t be happier with the recipes in here. great photos, and easy to understand directions. You are basically getting two cook books in one. The book is divided down the middle with a full recipe book from appetizers to deserts of classic recipes then the same thing at the end for modern recipes. All the recipes I did were from the classic part of the book except for the halibut with baby romaine, that one came from the modern section. There are a lot of seafood recipes in the modern section of the book so I stuck mostly to the sections with less shellfish in it. There are quite a few Italian-style sushi recipes in the modern section which I thought was odd. I normally don’t think of Italians eating much uncooked fish but they are pretty much surrounded by water so why not.There is a large amount of seafood recipes so if that is what you like this book is for you. For the people like me, who have problems with suction cups on your plate there are still plenty of noodle vegetable and meat dishes in here to make it worth your money. There are also a lot of neat old school techniques you are exposed to in this book as well. They show you how to make your own canned tuna for example. A high-end coffee table cook book that has recipes that work and is not just for show.

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