The Best of Christopher Idone

By Christopher Idone

Seventy classic recipes from one of the most recognized authorities on American cuisine.

The Best of  Christopher Idone

James Beard once told Christopher Idone that "if anyone can make American food look wonderful, you can." and for decades, Idone has done just that, creating several acclaimed cookbooks, including the 1985 IACP Best Cookbook of the Year Glorious American Food and the award-winning Lemons. Now, a very special collection of his all-time favorite recipes—many never before published—are showcased in The Best of Christopher Idone.

A master of composition and flavor, Idone offers many variations on classic American fare such as Puree of Pea Soup with Mint, Puff Pastry with Asparagus and Mushrooms, and Grilled Swordfish with Salt Crust and Gin-Lime Butter, as well as new interpretations of exotic dishes such as Moroccan Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt and Roasted Pineapple Caribe. Presented in a clear style, even the most sophisticated recipe is easy to prepare.

Illustrated with nearly 70 full-color photographs by such talents as Tom Eckerle, Richard Jeffrey, Rico Puhlmann, Todd Weinstein—even Idone himself—The Best of Christopher Idone is a celebration of the American culinary tradition by one of its own greatest influences.

About the Author:

Christopher Idone is also the author of Glorious Food (STC), Salad Days, and Cooking Caribe. He has contributed to House and Garden, Harper's Bazaar, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Elle, and the New York Times. He is currently a restaurant and catering consultant based in New York City.


Pasta with Clams, Mussels, and Sausage

Serves 4-5

12 baby artichokes, tough outer leaves discarded
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil, or as needed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, deveined, and julienned
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 ripe medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 2 cups canned
Italian-style plum tomatoes 18 small littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 pound spicy-hot pork sausage links, pricked with a fork
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Keep a large kettle of lightly salted water at a near boil for the pasta.

Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and rub them with the lemon. Using a small paring knife, scrape away the thistley chokes. In a large deep nonreactive saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the artichokes and garlic, cover, and saute, shaking the pan occasionally, until the artichokes are tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to a bowl and discard the garlic.

In the same saucepan, saute the red pepper and shallots for 5 minutes until the peppers soften, adding a little more olive oil, if necessary. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, mashing down on them with a wooden spoon. Return the artichokes to the pan, partially cover, and reduce the heat to low.

Place the cleaned clams and mussels in the freezer for 10 minutes while you prepare the sausages. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the sausages, turning occasionally until browned, about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slice them into 1/2-inch rounds, add to the sauce, and cover. Bring the kettle of water up to a full boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, raise the heat under the sauce to medium-high and cover for 2 minutes to create a head of steam. Add the clams and mussels to the sauce and cover. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the clams and mussels open, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside with the saucepan lid ajar.

Drain the pasta and return to the kettle. Add a ladle or two of the sauce and heat briefly. Divide the pasta among warm serving bowls and top with more sauce and the shellfish.

The Best of Christopher Idone
by Christopher Idone
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
127 pages; 1997
ISBN: I-55670-553-0
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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