Bottega Favorita: Frank Stitt Cooks Italian with a Southern Twist

Bottega Favorita - Frank Stitt, Christopher Hirsheimer 3.31.09 update: I made a variation on the orzo salad but added sliced grilled chicken instead of salmon, and I tossed it all together. Yum!3/26/09 Check out the video we made for this book/dinner party: update:I made pizzas last night using his crust recipe, and I think it has supplanted my standby Deborah Madison recipe. Thin and crispy, it doesn't get floppy when slathered with lots of marinated mushrooms and juicy tomatoes. It also held up well overnight - the dough didn't get chewy or soggy when microwaved, which is always a plus.Overall I would recommend this book to the seasoned cook. The pictures are beautiful, but the many of the recipes may not detailed enough for the inexperienced. This includes a lack of instructions for alternative methods - everything is done with appliances. For example, the dough recipes call for machine mixing, but don't give any instructions for other methods. If you don't own a mixer, you're on your own.3/9ish:Had a dinner party using recipes from this book. Parmesan souffles with sauteed crimini mushrooms and white wine butter sauce were amazing (though probably a heart-attack-on-a-plate given the amount of eggs, butter, and cream involved). Grilled salmon over orzo salad with corn, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and fresh basil - tasty and light pasta dish that was a good choice to follow the souffles. Tiramisu strange. User error? I'm not sure. The recipe was vague (as are most in this book - he puts a lot of faith in the reader's culinary abilities), so I'm not sure if it turned out right or not. The filling was a bit goopy and eggy for my taste. My previous experiences with tiramisu were much more solid and flavorful. However the polenta pound cake that takes the place of ladyfingers in this recipe rocks! I made it again a week later, and it was wonderful and consistent. 3/3/09 update:I have made the warm cream cheese tart with cinnamon and almonds twice in 3 days. It was fantastic right out of the oven, but it was equally good for breakfast the next morning, not overly sweet. This would be a good brunch candidate - quick and easy as long as you made the tart shell ahead of time. The tart shell held up nicely and didn't get soggy under the gooey filling. Yum!I haven't attempted any of the recipes yet, but so far I've enjoyed reading through bits of the book. Each starts with a paragraph of introductory notes, with hints or background info - always a plus for me. The desserts are a bit daunting/time-consuming, with ingredients like heavy cream that I don't keep on hand. Not that time-consuming is generally a factor that would prevent me from trying a recipe! Definitely not a cookbook for anyone lactose intolerant or on a low-fat diet!