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F&W Book Club

An Unabashedly Meaty Italian and Southern Mash-Up

Collards and Carbonara

Collards and Carbonara Photo courtesy of Olive Press

In this series, food writer, wine lover and cookbook obsessive Kristin Donnelly test drives the most fun and inspiring new books that come across her desk.

The Book: Collards and Carbonara, by Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman

Target Audience: Fans of these Memphis chefs, and home cooks who love lusty Italian and Southern food and want to take it to the next level. Fresh pasta freaks.

Fun Projects: Fried green tomatoes with blue crab and bacon jam; carrot-top strozzapreti with white rabbit ragù (inspired by rabbits eating carrots); cannoli

Simplest Recipes: Grilled vegetable salad with brown butter vinaigrette; chicken cacciatore; spaghetti squash marinara

You’ve got to love a book that starts out with a beef heart tartare and salt-cured egg yolk. While so many cookbooks this year are celebrating vegetables, F&W Best New Chefs 2013 Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman’s Collards and Carbonara is unabashedly meaty. Just as they do at their Memphis restaurants—Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy—the chefs deftly mash up their Southern upbringing with their Italian heritage and training, sharing recipes like boiled peanut ravioli with chicken liver fonduta and pecorino sformato (like a soufflé) with a rich neck bone gravy.

Although they don’t say so explicitly, a lot of the recipes are for adventurous home cooks who would like a project. But if you approach the projects their way—with family members sitting around the table helping, say, roll out and stuff ravioli—they’re actually a lot of fun. The dishes often rely on sub-recipes, like roasted garlic or confit tomatoes, from the pantry chapter of the book, which could annoy some home cooks. But this chapter actually contains a lot of gems worth flagging, including nine pasta doughs, nine stocks and broths, and, no surprise, a salami ragù.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and co-founder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Fast Italian Recipes
Italian Pasta Recipes
Best New Chef All-Stars

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