Cookbooks/ Reviews

CookBook Review: Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian

Be still my beating heart. Be still, so I can make more recipes from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian cookbook.

Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian Cookbook -

The best thing about Franny’s – aside from the mouthwatering food photography and simple, seasonal Italian food recipes – is the fact that it comes from authors who own a restaurant in Brooklyn by the same name, truly walk the walk and talk the talk and cook the best damn food possible using locally seasonal, regionally appropriate, organically grown/raised, quality ingredients. That, and the carbs.

Oh, heavenly carbs. Smothered in really good olive oil, a bit of flaky salt, a punch of citrus, anchovies or a dash of fresh herbs. Bring it.

Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, while maintaining a strong ethical commitment to creating an environmentally responsible business through sustainable agriculture, have put a dream cookbook for those of us who care about what we put into our mouths, the planet and each other. Ow ow! But seriously, a restaurant that declines to serve a plain green salad during certain times of the year when lettuce is out of season – regardless of how expected it may be by their guests – has my vote. Time and again.

Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian Cookbook -

In Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian cookbook, it’s about pleasure. Not just eating. Not even “just” nourishing. But real, experiential, tactile pleasure. It’s the best possible ingredients, the freshest flavours and using food as an opportunity for connection between diners, producers, makers, creators and the planet that serves us all. One of the funnest aspects of the book? The one pager snapshots of the restaurant staff and learning about their journey to Franny’s.

That, and the admission that the first time you make one of their pizzas at home it may not be beautiful. That takes practice and skill. But it will be tasty.

Particular recipes of interest: Roasted cherry tomatoes with ricotta, Dandelion greens with a fried egg, croutons and anchovy dressing, Sauteed squid with garlic, lemon and chili, Maccheroni with pork sausage and broccoli rabe, Tomato mozzarella and meatball pizza, chocolate sorbetto and any of the collection of cocktails at the back of the book (though the Ramp Gibson has me intrigued).

As Francine says in the intro to the book, “this is unequivocally a book for folks who want to make simple hearty food with big flavors, not to mention some of the best, most home-oven-friendly pizzas imaginable”. Now who can argue with that?

Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian Cookbook -

Do you cook simple seasonal Italian food? Have you been to Franny’s in Brooklyn? Made anything from the book? Do you omit green salad in the Winter from your kitchen? Spill it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Artisan Books sent me a review copy at no cost. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions and information is entirely accurate and a reflection of my true experience and was not influenced, in any way, by the above mentioned products. Opinions and views are my own. Because that’s how I roll, yo. I’ve never been one to shut my mouth – I’m not going to start now.

  • Anneli
    September 19, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    OMG you made my mouth water! Okay if I wasn’t Finnish I’d want to be Italian… that’s what I tell my sister all the time. I still haven’t been to Italy, but, it’s the place I want to go and eat my way around. Sometimes according to my husband I cook waaay to much pasta, and, I know that there is more to Italian cooking then pasta… but, I love it. I will definitely check out this book even though I haven’t bought a cookbook in a long time due to the availability of online stuff. Your review really makes me want to go out and get it though!
    Anneli recently published…Can you keep your herbs fresh?My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 19, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      hahahahaha Anneli!! You and me both girl! Not the Finnish part, but definitely eating my way around Italy.

      PS. No such thing as too much pasta. Ever.

      PPS. I know what you mean re buying (cook)books and so many things being online. I literally just had this conversation with a friend the other day and here is my thought: Yes, everything – literally everything – you can find in a cookbook is now online. But there’s something so visceral, so tactile and so based in pleasure about thumbing through a really good book. Cook or not. It’s more inspiring to me in a way than online clicks and drooling (which definitely has its place) but nothing beats a good book experience. Which is why I still buy cookbooks. It’s like food. For my fingers 😉

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites
    September 19, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    I need to get my hands on a copy of this cookbook. Italian is one cuisine we can’t seem to get enough of around here.
    Aimee @ Simple Bites recently published…Tour our urban homesteadMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      Oh Aimée. It’s the reason I don’t fit into my jeans anymore and you know what? I’m totally okay with that. If it means I get more Italian food, bring. it. on. Good luck finding the book! We could have a Franny’s cook off if you do 😉

      PS. Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts – it’s great to see you and have you be a part of the community. You’re awesome.

  • Shareba @ In Search Of Yummy-ness
    September 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Ooohh this is my kind of book! Just look at that cover… *drools*. I’ll have to pick up a copy 🙂
    Shareba @ In Search Of Yummy-ness recently published…Swirlyz Yogurt CafeMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 19, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      I know right, Shareba?? I want to dive into that bowl of rustic veggie awesomeness. Now that’s an idea: I’m going to fill my bathtub with crispy pancetta, bitter greens and creamy beans and soak my way to blissful ridiculousness.

      PS. Thanks for taking the time to say hello – it’s great to see you!!

  • Sarah | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean
    September 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Yum! I just ate lunch, which consisted of scraps of two day old salmon picked off of my kids’ plates. And now I want pasta. And ricotta. And dandelion greens and fried eggs and broccoli rabe. And I want to go to Brooklyn. Without my kids. Sigh. Thank god for Internet dreaming.

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 19, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      HAHA Sarah! Sometimes leftover salmon (or any leftover anything) can be damn good. That being said, if you ever want pasta and ricotta and dandelion greens and fried eggs and broccoli rabe in Brooklyn without kids, I’m your travel mate! 😉

  • Lisa @ Food Well Said
    September 19, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    This book looks AMAZING! My Italian in-laws live this philosophy and it’s so admirable. She scoffs at me buying tomatoes in the winter (that’s when you eat the canned ones) and we just helped her sow her “winter” lettuce. I am definitely adding this book to my collection! Loved your review!

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 19, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      I hate to say it Lisa but I agree with the Italian in-laws. Winter tomatoes = no bueno. They just don’t taste or feel the same and their nutritional content is way low. But homemade canned ones or even decent ones from an Italian grocer can do wonders in the Winter time. I love canning my own in small batches (about 12 jars at a time) so i can taste Summer all Winter long. I’m stoked that you got to plant the lettuce – what was it exactly? Do you know?

      PS. Thank you so much for enjoying the review and saying so. It’s great to have you around!! xo!

  • Becky
    September 19, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Dandelion greens with fried eggs were my go-to breakfast last spring. Divine.
    Becky recently published…Modern love.My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 19, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Absolutely agree Becky. Bring on the simple, delicious ingredients.

  • Melissa@EyesBigger
    September 19, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    I am a huge fan of bold flavours and simple recipes. Not to mention Italian cuisine. It looks like a gorgeous book!
    Melissa@EyesBigger recently published…Spiced Berry Apple Fizz Cocktail & Simple Apple SyrupMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 24, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Those are always the best meals Melissa! Bold. Simple. And yes, definitely Italian. Thank you so much for taking a few moments to leave your thoughts – it’s great to see you!

  • Teresa
    September 19, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    That is so refreshing – wan winter salads don’t need to happen. This cookbook sounds like one I’d love. Thanks for the review!
    Teresa recently published…FFWD – French LentilsMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      September 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Word to that Teresa!! Winter salads are the WORST. As long as they’re made from limp, unflavourful lettuce. Bring on the Winter produce! 🙂 Thanks for stopping in and leaving your mark – always happy to see your name in the comment thread. xo!

  • Teresa, foodonfifth
    September 27, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Kristy I am lovin’ your book reviews and stories about them as well as the lovely recipes you are making from them. This book looks so beautiful and full of healthy Italian. Thanks.