This luscious big cookbook is brimming with tempting photographs of food and from the Mozza Restaurant in LA. It benefits tremendously from the input of Nancy's fellow investors, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich who put their deep footprints on the restaurant and added a sense of gravitas to the recipes and tone of the cookbook.
That said, Nancy's lively discussion brings the book to life. Her recipes are thoroughly described, detailed and easy to follow. What I like the best and what I think makes this cookbook stand out from the others is that it focuses on simply put together dishes that you can get on the table in a hurry and still get maximum flavor and visual pleasure from.
Her restaurant and pizza bar in Los Angeles provide the material for her book. After an introduction to how the restaurant came into being, about her team, her menus and ingredients, we are able to dive into recipes using mozzarella, ones for antipasti, pizza, pasta, main courses and desserts.
I have turned back the corners of so many pages already of recipes I would like to try: homemade ricotta; currant and pine nut relish; peperonata with ricotta crostoni; tricolore with parmigiano reggiano and anchovy dressing; little gem lettuce with dates, red onion and gorgonzola dolce; any or all of the pizzas; spicy pickled peppers; and strawberry and fig jam crostate with meyer lemon panna cotta and saba. Among others!
I hope she doesn't mind, but I am going to share with you a recipe from the book. I hope you enjoy it!!
Rosemary Olive Oil Cakes
(bake in muffin tins or "teacake molds sold in a pan at cookware shops") Makes about 32 cakes
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
3 extra large eggs
grated zest of one orange
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary needles
unflavored cooking spray or olive oil
1. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder together in a large bowl.
2. Combine the milk, olive oil, and eggs in a separate bowl, whisking to break up the eggs.
3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour the wet ingredients into the well, using a whisk to draw the dry ingredients from the edges into the center. Continue adding the wet ingredients and whisking the batter until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth. Refrigerate until ready to bake. Stir in orange and rosemary just before baking.
4. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Generously grease a tray of teacake molds . Place the prepared molds in the oven and preheat the oven and the molds to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the molds and fill each mold with the cake batter flush with the rim. Place the molds on a baking sheet and bake the cakes until they are browned, firm to the touch, and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool, about 5 minutes. Then loosen onto a plate. To bake another batch of cakes, you don't need to wash the pan. Spray it again generously with cooking spray, preheat it before adding more batter. Serve cakes warm with ice cream.