Knitwear, chevron, and gnocchi verdi.
"This is Italy, baby!” proclaims music-industry legend Quincy Jones in the foreword of The Missoni Family Cookbook, authored by Francesco Maccapani Missoni (son of current creative director Angela Missoni) and available this month from Assouline. Jones first fell in love with the brand’s joyous designs in the ’70s. A friendship with the family led him to visit the Sardinia vacation home of his bellissima sorellina—his nickname for Angela—where he devoured such treats as Ricotta con Miele and Pane Carasau.
Missoni dinner parties have long been legendary, particularly among the fashion set. For peckish, jet-lagged editors, they’re a civilized high point of Milan Fashion Week. The fare, always fresh and seasonal, is displayed on a hodgepodge of whimsical plates from the Missoni Home range. Driven by a desire to conserve his family’s most beloved recipes, Francesco, 32, began compiling them as a personal project nearly six years ago. But after a two-year stint working at a design studio in New York, during which he became disheartened with American food culture, he felt compelled to share the cookbook with a wider audience. “Italians are so good about making people feel welcome,” he says. “New Yorkers don’t really entertain at home.” Fortunately, the book provides a master class in gracious entertaining, juxtaposing candid scrapbook-style snaps of family members alongside their favorite dishes—such as the chocolate pudding prepared annually for Francesco’s aunt Teresa’s birthday.
Lest one mistake the tome for yet another Italian cookbook, note that you’ll find no instructions for caprese salad or Cacio e Pepe here. In fact, Francesco’s favorite dish is a curried chicken with soy spaghetti and vegetables. Several meals have Croatian roots, a nod to patriarch Tai Missoni’s birthplace. And those with a broad palate will be particularly pleased. “The more color you have, the better,” Francesco insists. “Both in food and in knits.”
The Missonis’ One and Only Chocolate Pudding (Budino)
1¼ cups superfine sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 lb dark chocolate (70 percent), finely chopped
7 oz unsalted butter
Whipped cream, for serving
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and flour.
2. In a second mixing bowl, pour the milk, then the sugar mixture, whisking until well incorporated.
3. Using a fine sieve, pour the mixture into a saucepan over low heat. Increase heat to medium; whisk in the chocolate and butter until completely melted. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding thickens and reaches 212˚F, measured with a candy thermometer. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Fill a nonstick 10½-inch Bundt pan with cold water and set aside for a few minutes to cool. Drain and wipe off the excess water. Pour the warm pudding into the cold mold and set aside to cool.
5. When the pudding reaches room temperature, cover the mold with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until cold throughout.
6. To serve, firmly hold a plate over the mold and carefully flip it over. The budino should slide out easily; if it does not, dip the mold in hot water for 5 to 10 seconds, then flip it.
7. Serve cold with the whipped cream. Serves 5.
Adapted from The Missoni Family Cookbook (Assouline).
This article originally appears in the May 2018 issue of ELLE USA