Cooking with Abbondanza 

Antonio Corsi shares his table with friends

Cornucopia has come and gone for another year but not before coinciding with one of the earliest opening ski seasons in Whistler's history. Should I ski or should I taste was a question many asked themselves each morning and walking through the snow most of Saturday and Sunday I could understand why some chose the ski lift over the lift you can get from wine. I worked out of the recently refurbished Westin for the weekend and was more than impressed with the $10 million update and warm friendly service encountered throughout the building.

My biggest discovery this weekend turned out to be a cookbook, Mangia with Quattro $29.95 (Whitecap Books), featuring Whistler ambassador and restaurateur Antonio Corsi and son Patrick. Antonio Corsi needs little introduction to Whistler residents and visitors who have long enjoyed his unique brand of genuine hospitality and family style cooking, but did you know all the inspiration for the uncomplicated, delicious food that is the menu foundation at Quattro (Whistler), Q4 (Kitsilano) and Gusto di Quattro (North Vancouver) is now revealed in this warm, friendly cookbook.

Great family photos dot the book, including several of the youthful Corsi in Italy and Germany where he honed his hospitality skills working as a professional waiter. But the heart of the book is countless family recipes and the details of how to prepare them. According to Corsi, "The most important things in life are sharing simple meals with friends, cooking with fresh ingredients, drinking joyously, and living with abbondanza (Italian for abundance and a passion for life)." As Corsi says, " abbondanza is the most important ingredient in every recipe."

The book includes favourite Corsi recipes from all of the restaurants, as well as the simple and satisfying dishes they enjoy preparing and eating at home, including 15 menus where each course is paired with wine.

What I love about the book is that it isn't over designed for your coffee table. The soft covered, paperback is made for the kitchen and the sooner it has a bit of spaghetti sauce spilled on it the better. If you are fan of the famous "spaghetti Quattro" and you have always wanted to make it at home now is your chance. The book will be in wide distribution by the weekend but you can always wander over to the restaurant and get a signed copy from Antonio.

The early snow and the book have inspired me to release a list of spaghetti reds suitable for many recipes in the book or to use for some early holiday entertaining. Enjoy.


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