Wednesday, April 13, 2011


(spoon'tîno), noun:
An informal meal or a snack; also, a casual Italian eatery.

My favorite cookbook this year is "The Frankies Spuntino--Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual" by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. After years of working in professional kitchens, they wanted to return to the Italian-American cuisine they'd grown up on, "back when every Sunday meant a visit to Grandma's house and a huge spread of the Sunday Sauce."

So they started a tiny Italian restaurant in "a tin-ceilinged old tenement building" in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. This wasn't the gimmicky approach with the checkered tablecloths and the kitschy pictures on the wall--this was the real deal and they delivered the food they loved since childhood. It was a hit. After a while they opened another spot on the Lower East Side, another tiny place. My parents, two very good cooks in their own right, ate there last week and gave it two thumbs up. Dad said it may have been the best Cavatelli he's ever had--and Dad knows Cavatelli. The recipe is in the book.

The cookbook captures the down home feeling of good homemade Italian cooking and reminds me of those Sundays at Grandma's, too. I suggest you buy the book, and check out the Frankies' website and menu.

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