In Print: The Sardinian Cookbook | Bleader

In Print: The Sardinian Cookbook

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Two years ago I wrote about Lakeview cooking instructor Viktorija Todorovska and her then new The Puglian Cookbook: Bringing the Flavors of Puglia Home. The Macedonian-born Todorovska studied cooking intensively in Italy, and spent a great deal of time in the heel of the Boot learning all about its simple cucina povera. During that time, she says, people kept asking her if she was Sardinian, which is what prompted her to begin learning about the food of the large mountainous island to mainland Italy's west. That led to The Sardinian Cookbook: The Cooking and Culture of a Mediterranean Island (Surrey Books), due out next week.

Like the Pugliese book, it's one of only a handful of English cookbooks in print on that particular regional cuisine, which she breaks down into two main realms: the food of its rugged interior, and that which comes from the sea. Many of the dishes are a bit more complicated than the simple ones in The Puglia Cookbook, and feature some pretty high-end ingredients—a solid half-dozen recipes call for the wonderfully briny bottarga, the salted and dried roe of the mullet (or sometimes tuna), aka "Sardinian caviar." I'm told our friends at J.P. Graziano will have a new stock of bottarga in today, in both solid and granulated forms, if you want get the book and have a crack at artichokes with bottarga or rotini with zucchini cream and bottarga. Todorovska also includes recipes for other exotica like rigatoni with wild boar sauce, penne with wild fennel, and chocolate truffles with the myrtle-macerated liqueur known as mirto.

But even if you can't get your hands on these rare ingredients, there are still plenty of simple peasant-style dishes any buffone can handle; things like tagiatelle with walnuts, veal meatballs, or fish in a salt crust. There's even a detailed how-to on rolling your own malloreddus, the island's signature pasta, which doesn't look much more difficult than the orecchiette Todorovska showed me when we were talking about Puglia. Each recipe has its own suggested Sardinian wine pairing.

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