The thing that caught my attention with this book was the recommendation by Yotam Ollenghi. Yotam's books are sumptuous, lavishly photoed and printed with great quality. And while Dinner isn't quite the centerpiece, it's a lovely book. But that's all secondary to what's inside.
The recipes are broken out by dish type, and the divisions are numerous
- Meat, which is pork, beef, veal, lamb, duck, and turkey
- The Grind, which is ground meat dishes
- Fish & Seafood
- Pasta & Noodles
- Tofu and seitan
- Beans, Legumes, & Vegetable Dinners
- Rice, Farro, Quinoa, and Other Grains
- Pizzas and Pies
- Salads That Mean It
- Dips, Spreads, and Go-Withs
Those are quite specific, and I was a bit surprised (pleasantly) to see how many non-meat options there are. I'm not vegetarian but it's always refreshing to see vegetable recipes that aren't trying to be sides or emulate a meat dish. And they don't. These dishes are all well balanced. The chicken recipes generally have a strong seasoning or flavor pulled in from a fruit, vegetable, or spice. The lamb stew recipe relies on barley and leaks, the pork chops with kale. Everything is balanced with a complex palette, though not always complicated recipes.
Let's look at Fusilli with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, Mint, and Burrata as an example. There's a fair number of ingredients but only 4 main steps to cooking. The breakdown of getting the most out of these meals is impressively done. And that name just makes it sound bursting with flavor. Most of the recipes tend to max out at 5 steps or so, with some being as few as 3. The pictures, plating, and dish names can be quite intimidating but read through the actual cooking process and that will often ease your nerves.
The only thing that struck me as lacking was that there's no dessert section. The title says Dinner and this book means it literally. But the abundance of main courses, as well as soups, sides, and spreads that can be appetizers will keep almost all bases covered.