Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Canadian Cookbook Review - Pasta Et Cetera a la di Stasio

Josee di Stasio is an Italian-French Canadian food stylist/writer and television personality who has become very popular in Quebec, Canada. I first heard of di Stasio through my friend Ivonne on her popular blog Cream Puffs in Venice. We don't get her shows here in Ontario yet, but, like the wonderful Ricardo Larivée before her, I am hoping she makes the jump to English-speaking television.
Based on her reputation and popularity in French-speaking Canada, I was excited to review her newest cookbook, Pasta Et Cetera a la di Stasio.

The book is fairly large, 9x11 inches with 190 pages, filled with gorgeous food photography. There follows a natural progression from starters through pastas to desserts and even includes a section in the back for basics and how-tos. The first page declares joyously, "Italian Cooking makes you happy".
That it does!

Josee's recipes are simple and elegant, we started with her Red Pepper Dip. Very tasty with some briefly blanched veggies, and even as a spread.

I loved the bright flavours of the Crostini with Artichoke Spread, and was delighted by how quick it was to prepare.

The Tortellini in Brodo was totally addictive and a wonderful dish to serve on a windy night.

And the Penne All'Arrabbiata was spicy and zesty and delicious.

The Chocolate-Fig Sausage was something completely new for us. It is shaped to look like an old-world style sausage, but really it is a dense and chewy treat much like a granola bar meets a chocolate fig newton.

And of course you must have Biscotti! Josee has a few to choose from, and I chose the classic with the anise seeds and almonds. Perfect for dipping in your espresso or Amaretto.

What all of her recipes have in common is that they are simple and stylish and fairly quick to put together. This book would be excellent for a busy professional or working family, who enjoy cooking at home but do not have a lot of time. None of the dishes are very complicated, and they all deliver in the flavour department.