Fans of Bravo's Top Chef might recognize the name Fabio Viviani. He competed in season 5--almost made it to the final--and won fan favorite, and he returned to compete in Top Chef: All-Stars. Born in Florence, working in restaurants since the age of 11, trained in Europe, Viviani was destined to become a great chef and restaurateur.
And now he wants to help you make dinner.
His latest cookbook, Fabio's 30-Minute Italian, is filled with fast recipes for busy families. Salads and soups. Appetizers and sides. Meat and fish. And, of course, pasta. Oh, the pasta. Recipes include Crispy Pancetta, Sweet Peas and Pecorino Risotto; Linguine with Crispy Guanciale and Creamy Poached Egg ("Poor Man's Carbonara"); Grilled Shrimp with Basil and Orange Sauce; Braised Pork, Sweet Date and Kale Stew; and The Best Quick Fried Chicken. He mixes the beautiful ingredients of Italian cooking with American sensibilities, and comes up with recipes that are beautiful, tasty, and with lots of options.
However, not just anyone can walk into a kitchen and make any of these recipes in 30 minutes. Most of the recipes have a cook time that is less than 30 minutes, with 15 or so minutes of prep. But if you're not the fastest at chopping vegetables (no shame--this is totally where I live), or you just need a few extra minutes to get yourself or your kitchen or your ingredients organized, then it will take longer than 30 minutes to try these. But as you find favorites and practice them, you'll get proficient enough to beat that 30-minute clock. But these recipes are definitely a delicious place to start.
And for those with a sweet tooth (again, this is where I live), there are some scrumptious desserts like Brioche Bread Pudding with Strawberries, Mascarpone Chocolate Pudding, and Salted Caramel and Nutella Popcorn. And for a truly decadent weekend treat, there is a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake that I definitely need to spend some more time with.
Viviani also includes basic recipes for fresh pasta, including one with wheat flour and one that is gluten-free, as well as recipes for simple viniagrettes, butters, focacia, croutons, roasted lemons, roasted garlic, and a Roasted Mushroom Red Wine Sauce. With hints and tips throughout, Fabio's 30-Minute Italian is a must for a hearty introduction to Italian food that you can make for a weeknight dinner.