Big Love Cooking by Joey Campanaro

1AEEABAF-4322-47F8-B1A5-DEE8076B56CBFrom Netgalley & the Publisher:

What is Big Love Cooking? For Joey Campanaro, Italian-American chef and owner of venerated Greenwich Village restaurant Little Owl, big love cooking is his mother and grandmother hovering over the stove every Sunday, nursing a bubbling pot of red sauce, and filling the house with the familiar, irresistible scent of garlic, tomatoes, and carne.

This cookbook is an ode to the generous, comforting dishes of that big love cooking. With helpful, conversational advice and 75 crowd-pleasing recipes, this cookbook is a return to hearty platters and comfort food. Welcome home.

Recipes include Gravy Meatball Slider Buns, Pork Chop with Parmesan Butter Beans, Ricotta Cavatelli with Tomato Broth, Bacon, and Fava Beans—accessible, delicious meals to make at home and serve to loved ones.

About the Author:

Joey Campanaro is the owner/chef of Little Owl Restaurant, and co-owner of Market Table and The Clam in New York. He is the winner of the Food Network Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, and has appeared on The Today Show, Iron Chef, Vice Munchies, Chopped and many more. He has also contributed to Bon Appetit, Esquire, Slate, and the New York Times, among others.

Joey was raised in an Italian-American household in South Philadelphia where the food of his childhood inspired him to make cooking his vocation. With a culinary approach firmly rooted in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen and honed in a range of America’s top restaurants, he brings a lifelong affinity for Mediterranean cuisine to every dish he creates.

Little Owl is a corner gem with a big porkchop and an even bigger heart. Celebrating 13 years in Greenwich Village (New York City), Little Owl offers bold Mediterranean cuisine with friendly yet professional service that captures neighborhood dining in NYC. Understated yet elegant, an intimate room, it’s your home away from home.

I don’t often recommend cookbooks for Reader’s Advisory or Library Reads lists because, well, they’re cookbooks and usually not all that interesting to fully read.

Big Love Cooking is different.

Joey Campanaro has produced a cookbook that is fun to read as well as full of delicious recipes. Reading this is like being invited to the warmth, noise, and chaotic love of the Campanaro Sunday table. I married into a family much like Campanaro’s where food traditions reign supreme. The family has changed in the 35 years I’ve been with my husband, but the food remains the same.

There is a great balance of story and instruction here, with many of the recipes containing little asides from Campanaro regarding how to prepare the food. It makes you feel as though he’s right there next to you and encouraging you to try a little of this, or taste a little of that. This approach is entertaining for the experienced cook, but also very helpful for the new cook who may not have the confidence to deviate from the recipe. Campanaro “Big Love” approach just might help that new cook become more confident.

The personal stories of Campanaro’s family are entertaining and endearing. I think every Italian family has a set of “Uncle Frankie’s wine glasses” (and an Uncle Frankie!). For my family, they were individual hourglass-shaped glasses that originally held little shrimp cocktails. My father-in-law would fill them with his homemade wine and pass them out every holiday. And the “Old-School Salit” is my mother-in-law 100% – I *still* haven’t mastered the ratio of oil and vinegar poured directly on the “salit.”

The recipes, though, are the stars here. The “Little Owl Gravy Meatball Sliders” and “Sesame Seed Breadsticks” are amazing, and the directions for the “Sunday Gravy” are authentic and easy to follow. What really makes this book shine, though, are the recipes from Campanaro’s Little Owl restaurant. Horseradish Crusted Cod, Asparagus Homefries, Crab Cakes with Beefsteak Tomatoes, Little Owl Pork Chop, and so many more.

This will make a lovely gift for the cook in your life. Highly recommended.

Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Published By: Chronicle Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy