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Review of Donatella Cooks

Must Read: Donatella Cooks

Watching her as a judge on Iron Chef America, I always thought Donatella Arpaia was cold and snobby.

However, after reading her hints for romantic cooking and seeing her up close and personal at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, I've changed my mind. I think the independent Italian restaurant owner is fabulous!

Naturally I was excited to get my hands on her hot-off-the-presses cookbook, Donatella Cooks ($32). Did the book live up to my high hostess expectations? Find out after the break.


  • Arpaia is known for "feeding people great food glamorously in beautiful settings," and with this book, she is able to translate that to the masses.
  • It's a wonderful tome with glossy photos, stylish settings, and elegant entertaining ideas.
  • The book is broken down into seasons, which is helpful for home cooks who create meals based on seasonal produce.


  • If you're not into fashion, you may be turned off by it. One of the first images is of a pile of shoes next to a bunch of kitchen tools; she also provides outfit suggestions for what to wear to dinner parties.
  • Recipes are written in paragraph form which are more pretty to look at, but harder to follow when cooking.
  • Arpaia's recipes, style, and tips seem very similar to Giada De Laurentiis.

Recipes: I love the wide range of recipes featured in this collection. It's organized by season into sections: hors d'oeuvres; soups, salads, and small plates; pasta and grains; main courses; vegetables and side dishes; and desserts. Here are some fun favorites:

  • Gorgonzola dolce, bacon, and onion crostini
  • Fava bean puree with swiss chard
  • Orcchiette with broccoli rabe
  • Spinach and gruyere souffles
  • coconut cake

Imagery: The clear and concise photography is stunning and the majority of the recipes have a photo.

Overall rating: Fans of Italian cooking and the finer things in life will go crazy for Donatella's classic and straightforward tips and techniques.





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