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Cookbook Review of the Month - April 2007

This month's selection is Entertaining with the Sopranos.  I purchased the book because although I hate to admit it, I am a Soprano-a-holic.  In additon to the fact that the book is filled with wonderful Italian recipes which are very similar in style to my families style of cooking.  It is also filled with scenes and recaps from the show. If you love the Sopranos, and you love Italian food, you will love this cookbook.  Even if you don't like the Sopranos, the recipes are great.


  • Introduction
  • Welcome to the Family: Baptisms, Communions, and Confirmations
  • Graduation Parties
  • Fit for a Bride: Showers and Receptions
  • Come to My Home: Open Houses and Family Reunions
  • Dinner for Twelve
  • Holidays
  • Small Events for Women Only
  • Small Events for Men Only
  • Adult Birthday Parties
  • The Final Celebration
  • Afterward
  • Index of Recipes

This is more than just a cookbook.  It is a look into Italian Family life, although some may disagree with that, I think it is.  There are tips in the book about wine, appropriate gift giving, holdiays, hostessing, weddings, how to look good in pictures, etc.  It is very tongue-in-cheek, and it reads like a novel, not like your average cookbook. In additon, it filled with beautiful color photos of the recipes and from the television show.  I really enjoyed this cookbook.


Sample Recipe from the book:

There are so many recipes to choose from but since April is associated with Easter, I choose a traditional Italian Easter bread as my selection from the book.

Easter Sweet Bread                                                                        

Makes 2 round loaves



  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 degree to 110 degrees F)
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest                                      

  • About 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs, (hard boiled) colored for Easter, if desired
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Multicolored round candy sprinkles


Heat the butter with the milk in asmall saucepan just until the butter melts. Let cool.

Sprinkle the yeast over warm water. Let stand until the yeast is creamy, about 5 minutes.  Stir until dissolved.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the 3 eggs until foamy.  Beat in the sugar until blended.  Add the butter mixture, yeast, vanilla, and orange zest.  Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing until a soft dough forms.  Gradually add just enough of the remaining flour to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute or so, until it is very smooth.  Shape the dough into a ball.

Butter a large bowl and place the dough in it.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in volume about 1 1/2 hours.

Butter two large baking sheets.  Punch down the dough and cut into 4 pieces.  Roll out one piece between your hands into a rope about 22 inches long.  Repeat with another piece of dough.  Lay the ropes side by side and loosely braid together.  Lift the bread onto one of the preparted baking sheet and brings the ends together to form a ring.  Pinch the ends to seal.  Place three of the whole eggs at intervals around the wreath, tucking them in between the ropes of the dough.  Repeat with the remaining dough and eggs.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the dough with the egg yolk mixture.  Scatter the candy sprinkles on top.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown, reversing the position of the pans halfway through the baking time.  Transfer the bread to rcks to cool completely.

Cut into slices to serve. (Nobody ever eats the eggs, but store the bread in the refrigerator just in case.)

Book Title:

Enteraining with the Sporanos


Allen Rucker

Recipes by Michele Scicolone

Category: Celebrity Cookbooks
ISBN: 0-446-57911-4
Publisher: Time Warner Book Group
Publisher address:

1271 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10020

Website or e-mail of publisher:

Published: 2006
Edition: First
Description: Hard Cover
Illustrated: none
Photographs: Full Color Photos
Price: $29.95
Reviewed by: Elise Feiner
  March 30, 2007


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