On respites from running well-received restaurants they owned separately in Greenwich Village — Buvette and I Sodi — they cooked together at Sodi’s 17th-century restored villa on Via del Carota in the hills near Florence. Eventually they sold that home, bringing with them its birch chapel chairs and other memorabilia to lend character to their joint venture in New York.
Like their menus, the recipes in the duo’s first cookbook are rustic and relaxed. Organized by season, they’re heavily — but not exclusively — plant-based, with short ingredient lists and mostly uncomplicated techniques, with a handful of homemade pastas and breads for more ambitious home cooks.
The ones I’ve tried are studies in elegant simplicity: Cannellini with Sage, Tomato, and Sausage; Roasted Carrots, Spiced Yogurt, and Pistachios; Crushed Potatoes and Caramelized Shallots. And their method of sauteing spinach so that the leaves are cooked “until they’re so soft they feel like silk” is a true revelation.
In their restaurant as well as these pages, their shared philosophy about dining is clear: “The outside world should not intrude when you are at the table.”
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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