Edward Giobbi and Eugenia Giobbi Bone
Category: Food and Wine
Artists are often ahead of their time. In the case of Edward Giobbi, this also included his cooking. Back when no one used imported spaghetti, he swore by Italian brands. He pretty much invented pasta with vegetable sauces. And he was an early champion of pesto.
When his daughter Eugenia was four, Edward Giobbi cooked for her birthday party. No red sauce and meatballs for his little girl --- he produced a glorious green sauce. "Pesto," he called it. Her friends had never heard of it. Her friends stared. Her friends smelled the ingredients: basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese. And then her friends rejected the meal --- except for the brave kid who ate, thought better of it, and, after a desperate bout of the dry heaves, had to be driven home.
Four decades later, father and daughter have co-authored a cookbook-cum-memoir --- family recipes, family stories. As a clan, they are extremely annoying: They get together regularly, cook together, eat together --- generally in some lovely garden or arbor --- and go home happy. I'll bet they're even thin.
The absence of snark in the memoir makes its presence in the short introductions to the recipes that much more delightful. It was her father, Eugenia writes, who came up with the idea of making a mint pesto sauce to accompany butterflied leg of lamb. "Martha Stewart subsequently claimed credit for its innovation." Later, when invited to appear on her TV show, Edward declined. Ouch!
Other comments will be more useful to you. On balsamic vinegar: "There is no way you are going to find a superior balsamic vinegar that is also cheap. Grocery store balsamic is flavored with chemicals --- and you shouldn't bother with it."
But the recipes --- that's what we care about. For vegans, this book is heaven; the Giobbis believe in eating lots of vegetables in the appropriate season, and the book is chock-full of toothsome recipes. They also make the point that Italian meals are a series of small portions. Pasta is generally an appetizer, not a main course or an accompaniment to a main course. And there's a reason to start with a small portion of it --- if the carbohydrate part of a meal happens early, it tends to keep you from gorging.
What recipe to share? Oh, just for authenticity....Pasta Primavera. "Edward introduced this dish to Le Cirque restaurant in 1973. The chef, Jean Vergnes, adapted it, and it became a national favorite." For ease of preparation, the Giobbis have abandoned hand chopping the vegetables and opted for a blender. Bless them.
serves 6 (in small portions)
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh, ripe, never-been-refrigerated plum tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper (to your taste)
1 pound spaghetti
extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, oil, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper, and pulse to blend.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta, cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce.
Garnish each portion with a dribble of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
To buy 'Italian Family Dining' from Amazon.com, click here.