Cook the Book: 'Osteria'


The colder the weather, the more I crave bold, straightforward flavors. And if they're delivered with lashings of rich, warming sauce, so much the better. This is just the sort of food that restaurateur Rick Tramonto delivers with his fifth cookbook, Osteria. Written with Mary Goodbody, it's a collection of more than 150 Italian country-style recipes from Chicago's Osteria di Tramonto, laid-back sister restaurant to the award-winning Tru.

In Tramonto's kitchen, laid-back doesn't mean simplistic or slapdash. It does mean flavors that are more comforting than delicate, and portions that are meant to be ladled rather than stacked precariously. Think of the dishes in this book as very high-end family food—food, that is, for a family celebration and not a school-night supper.

And what gathering of family or friends wouldn't rejoice at a meal of pecorino custard with tomato sauce (essentially an intensely cheesy bread pudding) followed by red wine-braised short ribs? Speaking for myself, I've already earmarked Tramonto's spicy skillet-baked eggs—cheerfully named "eggs in hell"—and goat cheese and ricotta pancakes for my own brunch among friends. We'll be posting these recipes and more, every day this week. —Michele Humes

Win 'Osteria'

Courtesy of Broadway Books, we are giving away five (5) copies of Osteria. In the comments below, just tell us your favorite cold-weather comfort food.

Contest will end and comments will close at 3 p.m. ET, Monday, February 9, 2009. One entry per community member. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.