This is not just another cookbook by just another chef. This is a book that stirs our senses of childhood and satisfying   nostalgia of our kitchen memories. They are indelibly tied to the seasons  we live through. A spring with the promise and celebration of new life and winters end. Summer's celebration of the outdoors and our own connection to the produce of the earth. Fall's great symbolism of death and grand harvests to store and sustain through winters' nourishing and revitalizing sleep.

As Pino writes, we can recall our own memories of entering a kitchen on a fall afternoon and smelling the apples caramelizing on the bottom of the oven. Of coming out of winter's raw chill and being surrounded by a hearty winters' soup steam from the stovetop. The smell of an Easter leg of lamb with roasted onions and new potatoes. Summer's ripe produce and harvested seafood grilling on a fire.

Simply Tuscan offers menus that are in sync with the seasons. In summer, meals move outdoors, and Pino offers "A Summer Grilling and Barbecue Buffet", "Summer Night Seafood Extravaganza", and table setting tips that make entertaining a success. Later in the year, Luongo incorporates his "favorite delicacy on the planet", truffles, into the menu. With " Fall's First Truffle Dinner", he evokes Tuscany at the height of it's natural cycle. When winter descends, he supplies irresistable Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day menus with dishes like Red Snapper in Salt Crust, Crab Meat Ravioli in Ginger-Scented Vegetable Broth, and Chocolate Amaretti Custard.

This makes a great addition to to anyone's cookbook collection. The idea of centering it around the seasons is wonderful and the book is filled with great pictures of dishes and people. You will also love the small pen and watercolor sketches of everyday life and things in Tuscany. Pino says in the beginning he wants to convert us to Tuscanism, a way of life where cooking and eating have a protocol all their own. So, if you can't get there, get this book and get nostalgic!

Pino Luongo grew up in Tuscany and has lived in America for twenty years. He opened Il Cantinori in NYC in 1983 and now has ten restaurants including Tuscan Square in Rockefeller Center in NYC. He has written two other books, Fish Talk, and A Tuscan in the Kitchen.

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4 shallots, chopped fine
12 baby artichokes, trim tops  and outer leaves, 
cut into 1/8ths 
soak in water with squeeze of lemon juice 

1/4 C water 

1 pound asparagus cut into ½ inch lengths 

½pound peas, blanch if fresh 

2 pounds fava beans 

small head of romaine 

6 leaves of basil 

Salt and Pepper

In a casserole, saute shallots in the olive oil 
Add prosciutto for 2 minutes 
Drain artichokes and place in the casserole 
Cook for 3 minutes 

Add ¼ C water and cook for 5 minutes 

Add Asparagus, peas and Favas, romaine, basil, S&P 

Cook until just tender and still green, app. 5 minutes 

In a casserole, saute shallots in the olive oil 

Add prosciutto for 2 minutes 

Drain artichokes and place in the casserole 

Cook for 3 minutes 

Add ¼ C water and cook for 5 minutes 

Add Asparagus, peas and Favas, romaine, basil, salt and pepper 

Cook until just tender and still green, app. 5 minutes

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"In Tuscany, the summer fields are dotted with red poppies and white daisies so brilliant that you can actually see there colors in the moonlight."-Pino Luongo

1/2C olive oil 
4 cloves garlic chopped 
24 mussels 
24 small clams 

1C white wine 

¾ pound white fish fillets in chunks 

8 large shrimp 

salt and pepper 

1C canned peeled tomatoes 

4T chopped italian parsley

In a large casserole, saute onions and garlic
Add clams and mussels and add white wine 
Reduce by half and add fish then shrimp 
Heat on high, salt and pepper, Add the tomatoes and parsley 

When it bubbles, add 1/2C cold water to stop the cooking 

Bring back to a simmer for 10 minutes

Thick slices crusty Italian bread
4 cloves garlic slightly smashed
olive oil


Toast the bread and rub the garlic on the slices

Sprinkle with olive oil and salt

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butternut squash, peeled and seeded 
cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4T extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion chopped

salt and pepper

12 amaretti cookies crumbled to powder

1 t grated nutmeg

1/2C grated fresh parmesan cheese

1 ounce black truffle, shaved

In a large casserole, saute the onion and add the squash, S&P
After 5 minutes, cover with water and cook until squash is soft

Process soup in blender or processor and put back in casserole

Add 3/4 of the cookies and nutmeg, cook for 5 minutes

Remove from heat and add the cheese

Pour into bowls and garnish each with the truffle and remaining cookie

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4 quail breastbones removed 

4 bay leaves 

4 slices pancetta 

4T extra virgin olive oil 

1/2C dry white wine 

1/2C chicken stock 

16 whole shallots, peeled and blanched for 30 seconds


S&P each quail inside and out, place bay leaf inside each, wrap each quail with pancetta slice, secure with a toothpick

In a large casserole, brown the quail in olive oil

Add the wine and reduce, then add chicken stock and shallots

Cover the casserole and put in preheated 400 degree oven

After 5 minutes, remove the cover and cook for 5 more minutes

Remove the quail and brown the shallots on the stove top

4.5C water

salt to taste

1C polenta

1T extra virgin olive oil

Bring salted water to a boil

Reduce heat add polenta slowly beating with a whisk

Cook 5 minutes and add olive oil and salt to taste

Try adding some shavings of parmesan off the heat