In “Big Flavors From Italian America,” the new cookbook from Cook’s Country magazine, you get a healthy dose of history along with all the great recipes.
This cookbook focuses on how the Italian immigrants adapted dishes from their homeland. Tucker Shaw, editor in chief of Cook’s Country, writes in the book that from 1880 to 1910 more than 5 million people immigrated to the United States from Italy. Money was tight for most of these immigrants so they adapted recipes to American ingredients.
“Riffing on old-country underpinnings of bread, pasta and all-day sauce,” Shaw writes, “they created new, wholly American dishes: Spaghetti and meatballs. Cioppino. Scali bread.”
An example of that evolution is this recipe for Chicken Cacciatore. In this country, cacciatore, which translates to “hunter style,” often is made with a marinara sauce, though in Italy the dish does not always include tomatoes. And in Italy, the meat often was rabbit or game hen. The Cook’s Country version improves on the American marinara with a combination of red wine, diced tomatoes and chicken broth.