Strawberry Gelato from Hazan Family Favorites

With so many new cookbooks entering the marketplace, how does one decide which cookbook to  purchase these days?  Cookbook reviews are certainly one way to make a decision.  I always look at reader’s reviews before I hit “purchase.”

You may also decide to buy a cookbook based on the background or experience of the author.   Giuliano Hazan operates a cooking school in Verona, Italy with his wife Lael, in addition to offering cooking classes in the states.  He is the son of Marcella Hazan, an award wining cookbook author.

Giuliano has written four other cookbooks: Every Night Italian, How to Cook Italian and Thirty Minute Pasta.  His work appears in Cooking Light magazine and you may have seen his guest appearances on The Today Show.

His most recent book, Hazan Family Favorites, tells Giuliano’s personal journey with food and cooking through words and photographs.  It brings his own children, Gabriella and Michela, into the kitchen as a new family tradition.  Many chefs and cookbook authors are discussing the topic of bringing family back into the kitchen and cooking fresh foods at home.

Many parents struggle to find the time or interest to cook healthy meals for their families.  This cookbook is a reminder of how approachable home cooking can be.  Many of the recipes can be prepared quickly and with easily accessible ingredients.

There are recipes for basic grilling and roasting fresh vegetables and fruit, which lend themselves perfectly to the summer months. Naturally, there are a number of pasta dishes and risotto recipes.  While some recipes suggest making homemade pasta, you can substitute prepared pasta for a quicker preparation.

I made two recipes from the book.  Meatballs with Tomatoes and Peas and Strawberry Gelato.  I chose the meatball recipe to try a traditional Italian main course from the book.  Giuliano says that his grandmother, Nonna Mary, would serve this dish with a rice pilaf (recipe is in the book).

The meatballs are rolled in breadcrumbs before sautéing

I added more tomatoes to create a sauce for pasta

I wanted to serve the meatballs with pappardelle, so I added more tomatoes to create a sauce for the pasta.  I used ground sirloin from a local Georgia beef producer and frozen peas, as fresh peas were not available.  I thought the meatballs were very flavorful and we enjoyed the sauce with the pasta.  This would be a perfect meal to make for a family dinner.  Giuliano suggests making a large batch since the meatballs keep well when frozen and can be reheated very quickly.

If using frozen peas, you will not need to cook them as long

Served with pappardelle, this was a satisfying dish

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