Book Review: Pinot, Pasta and Parties

It’s not often you find a cookbook that’s also a great read, but Pinot, Pasta and Parties by Dee Dee and Paul Sorvino is just that.

Right, the co-author is that Paul Sorvino, the tough-guy actor. Turns out that not only is Sorvino a TV and movie star, he’s also, with his wife Dee Dee, a prolific cook, a pretty good writer – and he’s very Italian.

You can tell the couple had fun writing their cookbook, beginning with the chapter titles: “Sing for Our Supper,” “A Goodfellas Feast,” “La-La Land.” The format, too, is playful; each section opens with a story, in alternating voices, of their memories, their relationship, what they love about food and life in general. Then they supply a menu for one meal – but before they get to the food, Dee Dee, herself an Emmy winner, gives a cocktail recipe; it, too, comes with a brief story. (The Kentucky native introduces “Appalachia Magic,” a moonshine cocktail, with a salute to George Washington who “went into the whiskey business and made a ton of money.”)

You’ll enjoy getting to know these two through their stories. Before his New York recipes, Paul kvetches that he still hasn’t forgiven the Brooklyn Dodgers for leaving town, then he shares his “best of Italian street food” – a sausage-and-pepper hero sandwich. In the “Sing for Our Supper” section he shares his love of opera, tracing it to his mother, a piano player at a silent movie theater, then his recipes for Linguine con Vongole and Zabaglione. Even his dishes sound lyrical.

This oversized book (think coffee table) is loaded with full-color photos, explanations (“A torta is a rustic cake…”) and plenty of food lore. I even learned the best olive oil for cooking. Pinot… would make a great gift, but I think I’m keeping it for myself.

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