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Contemporary Milanese Cooking

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by Cesare Battisti and Gabriele Zanatta
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Firmly rooted in traditional Milanese cuisine, this book offers smart contemporary restaurant fare from Cesare Battisti, chef-owner of Ratana, a vibrant and popular restaurant known as a modern osteria.

Recipes are organized by primary ingredients (vegetables, rice, fish, etc.) and are all marked for the time of year in which the restaurant serves them. While the presentation style is almost homey, and it's easy to find traditional dishes such as risotto or minestrone, it's just as easy to encounter dishes that are uncommon in American-published books.

Some of these represent revived traditions, and others are the result of the chef's creativity. Rice with frog meat and watercress is the restoration of one dish that had become "obsolete," in the chef's words. But here as well is a warm chicken salad with mostarda and walnut. And humble cauliflower made three ways showcases the versatility of the ingredient as comfort food.

We've long been struck by how hard it is to find good representations of the cooking from Italy's wealthiest and most populous city, and while not rigorously traditional, this book offers an appealing portrait of what its title promises.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

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